SAHRC slates police in Marikina inquiry

2014-11-06 12:38
File: City Press

File: City Press

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Pretoria - Police did not engage openly and fully with the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the August 2012 violence at Marikana, North West, the commission heard on Thursday.

"The SAPS seemed to drip-feed the commission," Michelle le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission, told the public hearings in Pretoria.

Police missed deadlines for submission of statements and when new deadlines were set, these were missed too.

She said police deliberately concealed and tailored evidence to suit its case.

"It seemed this drip-feeding was in response to damaging facts emerging in the commission."

Final arguments

This implied that evidence was eked out as a means of damage control.

The commission is hearing final arguments from parties after two years of public hearings. The last hearing is expected next Friday, before the commission draws up its report, to be given to President Jacob Zuma.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police on 16 August. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Le Roux said police should not benefit from its alleged failure to engage fully and openly with the commission, and adverse inferences could be drawn from this.

Lower standard of proof

"The burden of proof is on [the] SAPS, which we submit has not been discharged."

Where inadequate evidence was available to the commission, a lower standard of proof was adequate, since the commission had different standards to those required by a court of law.

Le Roux questioned why every police member who fired a shot on 16 August had not been called to give evidence.

Commission chairperson Ian Farlam interjected that, had this been the case, "we would have sat here for a very, very long time".

He said he did not criticise the police for this as it would have been impossible to call all the police officers.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  jacon zuma  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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