MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 13
Article views: 0
Latest Badges:

View all TebelloMokoena's badges.

Marikana: 2 opposing, yet equally troubling narratives

20 November 2012, 11:45

Inevitably, every dinner table discussion amongst friends will veer towards discussing contemporary political issues. The in-topic at the moment is the Marikana Commission of inquiry and what appears to be the “emerging facts” which, at this very early stage, must be treated with a great deal of circumspection.

If one listens carefully, there are two opposing, yet equally troubling narratives emerging. The first one emerges from a deeply held mistrust of the ANC government since the Polokwane elective conference. In a nutshell, it suggests that;” this is what was to be expected from Zuma and his lot.” If the logic of this narrative is followed, it leads to the conclusion that somehow, the shooting of 34 miners in Marikana was a pre-meditated murder, committed by police on instructions from somewhere up there at worst, or at best, it was a function of a series of negligent actions by a police force which had, for some time, been told that it’s ok to shoot at innocent, unarmed civilians.

This narrative goes to the extent of making generous, ill-conceived and out rightly false comparisons between apartheid’s riot police actions and democratic South Africa’s public order policing tactics. The two can’t be compared as they are two different animals, grounded in two different historical and material contexts. The politics of this context are obvious; ‘use every opportunity you get to delegitimise government and state institutions,’ that way, you are taking a few steps forward in eroding the ANC’s legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

The second narrative, although couched in legalese, suggests that the law must be allowed to take its course and that; in any event, the police acted in self-defence and it was about time that the police stood firm against lawlessness. This narrative also infers that it was precisely because the police had hitherto treated the strikers with kid-gloves that the situation had deteriorated to a point where the miners felt emboldened to maim and kill with impunity.

Allowing the law to take its course is a code for;’ I don’t care, but I am hoping that the police can show that the miners deserved what they got.’

The truth, I suspect, lie somewhere between the two narratives.

 I have already outlined why the logic of the first narrative is flawed.

Its trouble is that, because it is born out of a mistrust of government, it assumes that processes of government have been subverted to a point where state institutions can act on instructions and follow them without due consideration of legality or consequence. I agree that the Zuma-led ANC government has many faults, but I can’t imagine that such a decision could be taken at the most senior level and yet no one sees fault with it, assuming that the narrative is true.

 In addition, I find it inconceivable that the ANC government can be so callous as to instruct the police to fire at striking miners and damn the consequences.  With all their weaknesses, there are sensible men and women in the current government, who would not have allowed such a discussion to even happen

The trouble with the second narrative is that it assumes that the police are incapable of making mistakes and therefore, there should be no concern about the methods employed, as long as the police can maintain law and order, it should be fine.

I admit that the country’s crime rate is disturbingly high and as result, many ordinary citizens will welcome the police’s new-found resolve to end lawlessness and anarchy, but the facts as they obtained during that fateful day in Marikana require a closer examination before we rush into conclusions that may prove ill-conceived later.

This second narrative is more troubling as, if followed, it would lend credibility to the police’s use of excessive force, even under circumstances where it is not warranted, just because the public is fed up with crime and the police must be seen to be acting to deal with it.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Daniel Sutherland
What is the real aim and agenda o...

We can not start to understand what their agenda is, before we looked where they started and it began with Chumani Maxwele’s Rhodes must fall campaign. Read more...

0 comments 1099 views
Submitted by
Molifi Tshabalala
Can we trust new Public Protector...

Busisiwe Mkhwebane raises fears that she may be captured, which essentially feeds into the DA’s allegation that she was a spy closed to President Jacob Zuma.  Read more...

0 comments 1687 views
Submitted by
Don Baney
An easy solution to the #feesmust...

Amidst the chaos that is disrupting our tertiary institutions, there is a very easy solution to the frustration that has boiled over into chaos in our tertiary institutions. Read more...

0 comments 894 views
Submitted by
Tyler Dean Smith
Students and what they want and w...

To the students of South Africa that think that they have been wrongly promised the a free education Read more...

0 comments 1617 views
Submitted by
Lindie Langa
Fees Must Fall No Coincidence nor...

Let me tell you my dearly beloved fellow country men and women, this whole "fees must fall debacle" is not accidental, neither is it purely political or eocio-economic.  Read more...

0 comments 836 views
Submitted by
Enriko Klopper
The not-so-new game of South Afri...

Clicking through the news and trying to compartmentalise all this information is an exhausting task. Especially if you are attempting to remain as objective as humanly possible. Read more...

0 comments 297 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2016 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.