News24

Mine shooting: Self-defence queried

2012-08-21 12:41

Mahikeng - The claim that police acted in self-defence when 34 strikers were killed in Marikana should be urgently tested, the General Council of the Bar of SA said on Tuesday.

"Two core values in our democratic order include the right to life and the right to human dignity," chairperson IAM Semenya SC said in a statement.

"The duty to prevent, combat and investigate crime, to maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the republic and their property, and to uphold the law, is also placed squarely on the police under the Constitution."

Thirty-four people were killed and 78 injured when police opened fire on protesters on Thursday.

Semenya said weekend media reports claimed that about 400 rounds of ammunition were fired by police during the incident.

"Spokespeople for the police have claimed that they acted in self-defence. These contentions should urgently be tested," he said.

Semenya said the events at Marikana raised questions about the circumstances and compliance by police officers. Semenya welcomed the inquiry launched by President Jacob Zuma but said it would not pronounce on the guilty parties.

"Commissions of inquiry are useful to investigate and establish facts and to advise on any corrective action which might be taken to avert similar events in the future. However, they operate within constraints," said Semenya.

"A commission of inquiry will not, for example, be able to pronounce on the guilt or otherwise of those implicated in the deaths and injuries suffered by the victims at Marikana. Only the courts can do that," he said.

Comments
  • mantothieve.missingman - 2012-08-21 12:46

    Aag please those miners where all armed with some kind of weapon , they where not there for tea and a chat !

      blignault.michaele - 2012-08-21 12:59

      I would like to see anyone who saw the video, stand up and say, YES I would have waved the miners off with tear gas, pepper spray and, as someone mentioned yesteday in their comment, with British type riot vests ans plastic shields...rubbished you would have crapped yourself and shot back in SELF DEFENCE..

      procold2 - 2012-08-21 13:33

      and dont forget they had muti from the sangoma that made them violent and super human,police were 100% in their rights to shoot back.

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 13:34

      Sometimes I have to question the intellect of my countrymen. So what if the Miners were armed. The question is NOT one of who fired first ...or who had guns. The question is ...why were hundreds of Police with automatic weapons facing off against hundreds of armed Miners on a mountainside in the veldt ...tens of kM away from anywhere? If a couple of heavily armed men shot a pride of Lions in a game reserve , would you accept the "self defence" argument if they walked in amongst the Lions? I accept FULLY that the Police were attacked .......what I dont understand is why they were faced off against these Miners in the middle of the veldt. It was clearly a recipe for disaster ........and guess what ...disaster happened.

      Havokreeka - 2012-08-21 13:45

      Philip, because they had killed people, including police officers. That's why we had hundreds of armed police officers out in the middle of nowhere.

      Rodriguez - 2012-08-21 13:47

      video of the mine workers shooting at police first http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=t6guOlOFY7Q

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-21 13:51

      @Philip, try THOUSANDS of protesting miners, not hundreds.. THOUSANDS against 400 police..

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 13:56

      havokreeka...are you mad. Yes there were murders of Police...those murders need investigating and the criminal brought to book. That shouldn't involve 38 human beings getting shot dead. That is not what Police work is about. You dont shoot 30+ people dead in the hope you can arrest the killers of some policemen ........and have they MADE any arrests? No of course not. It is one HUGE F UP. Just like SA.

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 13:57

      pointblank ...why were 400 heavily armed police facing up to these miners in the middle of nowhere?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-21 14:16

      Philip, you clearly have no idea of the events leading up to this, you sound like you judging this from the one shooting incident. Do you realise that over 4000 miners were on an illegal strike. A strike that was more about union wars then labour issues. They had already killed 10 people, 2 cops and 2 security guards hacked and burnt to death. there was also 6 other miners brutally murdered by these miners. These miners were armed and were gathering illegally. It is the police's duty to protect the lives of innocent people, that is what they were doing there. When negotiations broke down between miners and police to disarm the police are obligated to take action. They tried to break the crowds up into smaller groups so they could disarm. They used everything from water cannons, teargas, rubber bullets. But because of some sangoma these miners thought they were invincible so they decided in all their wisdom to attack the police, shooting at them with REAL LIVE AMMO, the front group charged police with DEADLY weapons. You can clearly see from the footage how bullets strike at the feet of police BEFORE they shoot back, and you can clearly see the police moving backwards as they do so meaning the group were in full charge. I was a riot cop in the townships in the 80's - if you think axes, spears and pangas are not dangerous weapons, man you aint seen nothing my friend. When you shoot at police (anywhere in the world) and charge at them with deadly weapons they WILL use force!

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 14:27

      @pointblank. For the alleged crimes , how many people have been arrested ? Let me answer .........NONE! And for that ...30+ people are dead. These murders need to be investigated in the cold light of day. If you get all emotional and send 400 heavily armed Policemen against armed strikers ...you will have a disaster. Which is what happened. The Police were to blame ...they had no need of being there.

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 14:28

      Actually I corect myself ...it is not the Police that are to blame ...it is the person who told them to be there.

      Johan - 2012-08-21 14:33

      Mr phillip.haris What would have been your solution? The striking miners already demonstrated their willingness to use force. They already killed people including police. I am no friend of our new police force but I find in difficult to lay the blame of the dead miners on their shoulders. So be so kind and tell me how you would have handled the situation.

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 14:42

      Johan , the striking Miners were standing on a mountainside in the middle of the veld in a Highveld winter. How long do you think they would stay there. One day ..two , three ? They were kM away from anything. What the Eff is the point of sending 400 heavily armed Police to face off against them. Strikes have to be NEGOTIATED. These MIners are being paid peanuts ...solutions that are acceptibe to ALL need to be found. Slaughtering human beings should not be an option.

      Johan - 2012-08-21 15:05

      Good for you Phillip. I can see all the police had to do is leave a lot of armed worked up full of 'muti' striking miners alone and called you or someone with equal intellect to come and negotiate with them. Brilliant as you said sometimes I have to question the intellect of my fellow countrymen.

      philip.harris.967 - 2012-08-21 15:17

      So Johan , what the Eff is wrong with leaving strikers to own devices ...kilometers away from anything ..on a mountainside on mine property in the middle of a Highveldt winter? How long would they stay ? ....and who , apart from the Mine owners would care ? What is the point of starting a war? They are strikers.

  • parys.fotograaf - 2012-08-21 12:49

    Coming from lawyers who rip the dignity of people on a daily basis in courts.....eish?

  • Cameron - 2012-08-21 12:49

    They had weapons...end of!!!

  • peter.j.cock - 2012-08-21 12:50

    OK - so now I will just stand there and do nothing when somebody comes at me with a panga ???

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-08-21 12:52

    Oh for Pete's sake get off your bar stool, sober up into realism and go look at the videos. Your problem is that criminals have rights - the right to have a victim.

  • arne.celliers - 2012-08-21 12:52

    Here is a link proving that it was self-defence http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/South-Africa/New-evidence-shows-Marikana-miners-shot-first-20120821

      gabriel.melim - 2012-08-21 13:14

      Certainly a new perspective that has not been much publicised. Thanks for the new input.

      blignault.michaele - 2012-08-21 13:20

      Watched the video...clear as daylight...as they say a picture tells a thousand words...

  • andre.burrows.92 - 2012-08-21 12:53

    This was the same excuse at Sharpeville.cANCer cannot learn from history. Keep struggling comrades!

  • customdesign - 2012-08-21 12:58

    That Sangoma really messed up with his bullet proof muti. I wonder what appointments look like this week.

      grant.montgomery.5074 - 2012-08-21 13:17

      Agreed. The sangoma should be reported to the medical council and all miners should get a refund.

  • nakita.willemse.5 - 2012-08-21 13:00

    just one question! what about the 10 people who were brutally murdered, jaws torn apart, burnt alive? the police didnt do that, the eligal STRIKERs did! so exactly why is is that the police could not have defended themselves. those stikers were not there to solve any issue what so ever. they were out for the kill!!!!

  • stefans.mkhawane - 2012-08-21 13:02

    All th facts shows that the striking workers intended to harm the police. But now that the miners are the ones who have been killed it becomes easy to blame the police. If these miners were law abiding citizens why did they kill the two police men and the other eight people. Why was a worker killed and an animal skul placed on his body, all this shows that these are not law abiding citizens and their aim was to kill If the police allowed these thugs to attack them, what was the court going to test. Where they going to test whether the crowd was provoked or were they going to tet whether the crowd acted reasonably. I personally feel based on all the reports that the police acted properly in that situation. Either way we were going to have victims either on the police side or the miners side.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-21 13:02

    As a lawyer, you should know better than to question the polices actions, they were murdered, they were shot at, they were charged by a gang of armed men intent to harm & kill, you say nothing of the workers violation of human rights & total disregard for the law.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-08-21 13:05

    I don't understand why such a big fuss are being made of this. There are hundreds of deaths, rapes, stoned, and many more stories hitting the headlines daily. The Sharpville incident was just another day in paradise, nothing more, nothing less. I don't see such a big fuss being made about farm murders described as mere crimes. I dont see such a big fuss being made for children's safety, when their only marchess for woman and children as and when it suits the anc woman's league or any orginasation for that matter. Each and everyone of these groups trying to buy face on the sorrow of those who are really suffering. And once again we have the malema clan trying to buy face for just another South African every day life incident. What a hoo ha!

  • gavin.green.7798 - 2012-08-21 13:06

    You all have it completely wrong!!!!!!! the police should have waited for some of their officers to have their arms hacked of by a panga or got shot and killed and then, and only then would they have been able to shoot at the protesters. And after all of that, they would still be blamed for something ?????

  • theovnk - 2012-08-21 13:08

    eish! afta 18 years they are still straggaling.....

  • boltonbarry - 2012-08-21 13:09

    You know. For someone from the Bar that do not realize that an inquest will be held and that all these questions will be asked to test the legality of the Police action you have to ask the question just how high the Bar raises the bar to employee competent intellectual people. Pardon the pun there .

  • tednhet - 2012-08-21 13:10

    A video proved that the protesters fired the first shots. End of story.

  • tednhet - 2012-08-21 13:11

    NEVER come to a gun fight with a knife.

  • deon.schyff - 2012-08-21 13:12

    Disgusting comments - are you blind

      Cameron - 2012-08-21 13:20

      Ask yourself that question pal!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-21 13:13

    The whole 'human rights' issue has been pushed to far for too long. It is a serious problem having such a high regard for 'human rights' when half the nation cannot determine between right or wrong, and are unable to understand or apply the 'reasonable man' principle which is so crucial in Law. An interesting dilemma develops when applying first world law and principles to a country that is made up mostly of third world thinkers.

  • theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-08-21 13:14

    Please go watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17m8OnHC7dQ&feature=related I rest my case !

      nathanjaysa - 2012-08-21 14:09

      WOW!!!! mind blowing video..absolutely true.... i rest my case.. i take my hat of for that preacher!!

  • wilhelm.grobbelaar - 2012-08-21 13:15

    I saw the video. WTF. The police were attacked with pangas, knives and knobkierries. There were even some who had firearms. Is the whole world going in sane. I can also recommend some very good eye doctors.

  • thulasizweb.m - 2012-08-21 13:16

    Let us not waste time & taxpayers money on something which is obvious !!!

  • bmaestro - 2012-08-21 13:17

    if someone is armed and is charging against you naturally you have to defend yourself or risk being reduced into a hip of bones and provide dinner snack for vultures.the miners were heavily armed,wanted to kill the police INFACT one police officer was shot dead before the shootout erupted,one of the miners then started shooting using the dead officer's gun.we can argue all we want but i agree the police had to defend themselves

  • bmaestro - 2012-08-21 13:17

    case dismissed

  • dieter.muller.942145 - 2012-08-21 13:18

    Volgende jaar se Oppi Koppi is by die Lonmin Myn ter ere aan die week se skietery. Die tema is Guns & roses ..en die hoofsangers is f0k0fpolisiekar.....!

  • phumi.ntlabati - 2012-08-21 13:19

    What we need is a judicial commission and not this politicised claptrap meant to protect Lonmin and SAPS. Only the Hague can give these workers justice and recourse! We also know that Zuma will never abonden one of his own as the history tells us if it is going to benefit him in the end! This is a clear crime against humanity just like De Klerk's apartheid!

      Cameron - 2012-08-21 13:21

      Get over yourself phumi. Do you suggest that the police just get hacked to death like their corades!

      Nicolaas - 2012-08-21 13:31

      @DOMPHUMI, and you are clearly an insult to those stupids trotting this earth! In my view, those illegal strikers had it coming! They want to kill, mutilate, burn humans beings like barbarians, yet when they get treated the same all of a sudden they are the victims? I say eff them, shoot these bastards who thinks they are above the law. I am incline to say that every "protestor" that destroys infrastructure, burn and kill some one under the umbrella of protest should be shot, that way we can deal only with real protestors, people that protest on facts, not false promises of huges salaries, huge bonusses etc, lies that they were told by greeding pigs feeding at the taxpayers trough for self gain! No go and vreet your putu pap and do not ever come and comment here on a platform for intellectual people! People such as you make me sick with your apartheid rethoric!

      wilhelm.grobbelaar - 2012-08-21 13:35

      There's that word again which is used more by blacks than white. So sad. Have you seen the video. It was black police officers who shot the strikers. Where's the apartheid in that. o yea. A part of this and a part of that.

      candice.lee.sparks - 2012-08-21 14:33

      Maybe you should brush up on your history before you start slinging accusations... De Klerk was the guy who put an end to Apartheid and set Madiba free in 1990.

      john.cryink - 2012-08-21 14:55

      The anc should also answer in the Hague for farm murders and there inability to stop all murders...?

  • wilhelm.grobbelaar - 2012-08-21 13:19

    If I were in the polices shoes. I would have shot the c**ts right there. I was robbed about 5 months ago in Randburg and guess how the randburg police officer took the statement. By talking with his girlfriend on his cell phone. I should have f***ed him up right there and go after the criminal myself. I knew where he was and the officers response "Eish, I do not have jurisdiction there". So some officers are worst than the criminals. So yea. I WILL take care of matters myself if no one else can.

  • Sean O'Brien Snr - 2012-08-21 13:20

    two words to describe this! F^%d up! The Police did what they have to do. Human rights my ass! if you resort to this type of violence, you have given up your effen human rights!

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-21 13:21

    Yup, the vultures are gonna make a fortune out of this one.

  • mike.jankelowitz - 2012-08-21 13:25

    Stop this nonsense. The police acted in the correct manner. The unions must be squarely blamed and take responsible for these deaths. Finish and Klaar.

  • leandra.scholtz.7 - 2012-08-21 13:26

    Easy, hit replay but remove the police and put Semenya there - I'm sure he will have a different opinion then!

  • Small.Mbongwa - 2012-08-21 13:28

    I support this reccomendation by the BAR of SA, at least this is done with the sole purpose to fulfill Two core values in our democratic order: the right to life and the right to human dignity, enough of News24 judges>>> Some even quote that we did not learn from the Sharpeville massacre, I do not really understand what that has to do with the mine shooting that took place last week. I guess by they Andre.Burrows means black people because it is not only ANC members that died in Sharpeville.

  • flysouth - 2012-08-21 13:30

    Was it 34 that died here? What about the other 98 that were killed in crime across SA and hundreds injured and traumatised? Seems that they are of no concern at all! This is the daily casualty figure published in the National Injury and Mortality Survey by the Medical research Council. This figure is accepted by Interpol and other credible agencies worldwide, not the rubbish of 50 per day killed which the SAPS has been trotting out for years - as if 50 is okay! One really has to wonder - why the fuss when it is the police killing criminals?

  • cindy.deutschmann.5 - 2012-08-21 13:33

    Ill-disciplined and badly trained police officers do not for a self-defence argument make! The whole incident was badly handled, by the 2 unions, the mine bosses and the police. The cops in UK and Europe deal with violent situations with water cannon, tear gas, riot shields etc; they do this because they are well-trained. Our Minister of Police is on the record, mere days before this incident, as saying that SAPS need training to handle "riot" situations... I don't buy the self defence argument that so many of you are happily accepting, what happens when your friend or relation lands up in a similar situation and gets gunned down? Will you accept that there was 1 gun so hundreds of cops reacted in self-defence? According to the reports I've seen 1 yes 1 hand-gun was recovered at the scene... automatic weapons against sticks, panga's, stones and 1 hand-gun is hardly a "fair" fight!

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-21 13:43

      6 firearms were recovered. Also, have you seen what a mob armed with pangas, axes and spears can do to another group? I have, in townships in the 80's - you think guns against axes, spears and pangas are unfair? You know nothing my friend. Nothing.

      Mike.ntsh2009 - 2012-08-21 13:44

      You must be burying your head in sand. In the incident of few weeks earlier similar rush-attack ended in deaths of two police officers and two security guards. Pangas and assortment of missiles were used in those murders and not guns. It make no sense to suggest that only two guns were a threat to lives of police. If you watched video footage well you could see police retreating amid large number of panga-wielding attackers. If no shots were fired by police, believe me, we could be counting tens on deaths on the side of police.

      wilhelm.grobbelaar - 2012-08-21 14:01

      Soooo.... was the police going to stand still and block with their arms, losing it in the process. Yea. please come up with a better one.

      dvanrhyn - 2012-08-21 15:15

      The weopon recovered was from a cop i personaly knew. they stroemd them on last monday. hacked him and lft a spear in his chest. Because they didnt defend themselves. Any suggestions from your side? Have you bee in such situations? I have.

      david.haessig.31 - 2012-08-21 16:45

      @ Antipoaching: Comparing this situation that the SA police was facing and the one that the police here in Europe is facing is completely idiotic. We have loads of strikes in France, but no one walks around with knives, pangas and/or guns during strikes! And when they do turn "badly" it's just because people have thrown stone towards the police force. So there water canons and/or tear gas is more than enough! Maybe compare it with the police of Mexico, Brazil or Argentina, that are also facing brutal and violent oppositions. And funny enough they are also considered by our European stupid "human rights socialists" as very violent Police forces.

  • Klaus - 2012-08-21 13:34

    For those old enough, ANC come to power by killing Police, excuse being they are part of the evil regime ?! To those current Policeman & woman - you will be dropped like a hot potato if your political masters find you expandable, wait and see

  • harry.kruger.94 - 2012-08-21 13:34

    If they did not shoot these barbaric creatures there would have been 400 cops being chopped up and tortured to death !!

  • tom.theunissen.12 - 2012-08-21 13:43

    yawn yawn yawn. silly comments from a very silly lawyer.

  • Rodriguez - 2012-08-21 13:46

    video of the mine workers shooting at police first http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=t6guOlOFY7Q

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-08-21 13:52

    Show me any country in the world where you have 3000 people armed with spears, axes and pangas charge police and the police beat them off with pepper spray and riot shields... show me. Please.

  • thepudi.solly - 2012-08-21 14:02

    Mr Semenya, is a right to life only limited to mine workers?

  • aaron.mambane - 2012-08-21 14:03

    That is all the president can do and say, commission of inquiry and what next? Findings will be then drained on running water particularly if his police unit is found guilty. Tired of unending inquiries, shame

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-08-21 14:26

    Damned if you damned if you dont

  • Perfume5 - 2012-08-21 14:27

    What needs to be queried????? If the miners had killed 34 cops that day, would there still be a query!!!!!

      shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-08-21 14:31

      Probably not But shame they were only fighting for the rights (sarcasm)

      Dikotsi Ramakhera Petrus - 2012-08-21 19:19

      Why do we always look at the police when they do their job, and say little about criminals? What kind of police force shall we have, if they get killed with pangas and spears, while holding guns themselves? It will be stupid force

  • john.cryink - 2012-08-21 14:40

    Easy grab a few lawyers give them a white flag and make them stop the strikers.

  • zanelezinhle.nkosi - 2012-08-21 14:58

    i keep on wondering about the ones who are left behind, i mean their families how are they are expected to cope with their daily lives? what about the kinds? our world is growing more orphans than leaders.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-21 15:17

      You are right Zanelezinhle, our rants and raves cloud our judgement and humanity, while families suffer the loss of loved one's. It is almost as if we have lost our sanity.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-21 15:12

    At least the right questions have begun to surface, let us hope that the truth will be completely investigated so that this kind of thing never happens again.

  • elenthal - 2012-08-21 15:51

    if they complain so much that they need more money, how can he afford a pistol license , oh wait he cant its an illegal firearm thus another law is broken its these people that threaten the very fabric of this country and all of its citizens

  • elenthal - 2012-08-21 16:00

    @ phillip.harris, have you never seen riot police in canada? sure they are not heavily armed, but neither is the mob that is why we need heavily armed policemen the police was there to stop an outbreak of a riot,do you think we would contain a Riot of this scale with a few batons?. and its sad that it turned to blood but the mob decided to attack with deadly intent I assure you if one was going to surrender they would of laid down on the floor not charge towards armed people.

  • kearney.mol - 2012-08-21 16:05

    @ philip.harris.967 If the police were not there, what do you recon would have happened? They would have got bored and gone home? What happends when you have a large crowd of people in one place? they talk. so what happens when they talk? they disagree, and the rest is history. The police we doing their jobs, go look at any even that draws that many people, in any country, with weapons or at a football game or at an music festival. The police are always present, for the simple fact that arguments arise and order needs to be maintained. The ammount of police is determined by the level of possible hostility, the amount of people and the availability of weapons. Now i dont disagree that a matter like this should be looked into, by all means, investigate and do it thoroughly. At the end of the day however, I think this tragedy could not be forseen, its easy to judge from hindsight but the reality is that nobody could know for sure, and if the police were not there and 80 miners died in the riot, you would still blame the police for not being there. The police have a hard job, some are lazy and some are corrupt, but the few good ones out there deserves some respect for the job they do, to keep us safe. People who give the police a hard time for doing their jobs, should look at what it would have been like without them.

  • Johan - 2012-08-21 16:09

    Phillip did they keep to their own devices?