The failure of the Farlam Commission report on the Marikana Massacre to hold any executive within government accountable for the deaths of 36 miners, has come as little surprise, according to Dr Dale Mckinley of the Right2Know Campaign. The long awaited report was released by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday.
Whilst the 600-page document did highlight the need for probes into the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) handling of the August 2012 shooting, family members of the deceased have been left short-changed by the absolving of blame of high ranking government officials.
“It is very unfortunate. It obviously targets the police mostly, and again that is not surprising because it is obvious the kinds of mistakes that were made, and the culpability of those who were in charge,” suggested Mckinley.
One of the main talking points of the report has been its brief submission with regards to deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa’s involvement in the tragic shooting. Ramaphosa, a former director of Lonmin which owns the Marikana-based mine, was cleared of any involvement, with accusations against him labelled ‘groundless’. Instead, the majority of a section focused on his involvement featured the actual testimonies against him, and little on the recommendation side.
“I think it is quite disappointing. I cannot speak on behalf of the families (of miners), but i can imagine that the victims, families and those who were injured themselves are quite disappointed in this, because the capability is actually general,” he stated.
The report did feature recommendations on the part of SAPS however. Judge Ian Farlam recommended the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) launch a probe into SAPS actions in order to determine criminal liability, as well as into whether national police commissioner, Riah Phiyega is fit to hold office.
Mckinley welcomed the recommendations with regards to public order policing, but suggested they could have been more specific on what changes need be made. He was keen to see whether those recommendations would be put into practice.
Naadira Munshi of the Socio-economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri), which represented the families of the killed miners, said they were disappointed in the manner of the report’s release. Despite calls on the president to provide sufficient notice prior to the report’s release, her organisation like many others found out about Zuma’s decision via the media. As such, proper arrangements were not made for families to see Zuma’s summary of the report.
As for the contents, they were critical over a lack of positive findings as to how each miner was killed.
“After 3-years at the commission listening to your loved ones death repeatedly and watching videos, it seems that by not having their deaths we are not much closer to the truth,” she added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)