Police being used as 'scapegoats' to protect those behind Marikana massacre - Amcu

2016-12-13 16:12
(Picture: City Press)

(Picture: City Press)

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Johannesburg – Senior police officers are being used as a scapegoat to protect those behind the Marikana massacre says Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa.

"We are very concerned that the government wishes to find an easy scapegoat in the form of senior police officers," he said on Tuesday.

Mathunjwa was speaking at a media briefing just days after President Jacob Zuma's office released an update on steps taken by various government departments to implement the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's recommendations.  

The inquiry investigated the August 16, 2012, tragedy where 34 miners were gunned down by police. Ten others, including security personnel and two police officers, were killed in the days leading up to the incident.

Some of the officers involved in the tragedy are to face numerous charges, including murder, attempted murder and obstructing justice.

But Mathunjwa said this was not fair, insisting that a decision like the one taken in this instance had to come from higher up.

"No one at any department can just order for mineworkers to be killed. Something like that should be well thought out," he said.

Police, brigadiers and commissioners are taking the brunt of the Farlam commission's findings, he continued.

Root causes of strike not addressed

He said former police commissioner Riah Phiyega reported to then police minister Nathi Mthethwa who, according to Mathunjwa, also took direction from someone higher up.

The union boss did not name who this was but said this was the reason why Amcu and their legal representatives felt that international organisations should have been involved in the matter as the state was implicated.

He compared the Marikana massacre to the Sharpeville massacre.

Mathunjwa said in order for peace and reconciliation to take place in the North West region, there had to be truth and justice first.

"No amount of money can compensate the victims of Marikana," said Mathunjwa.

He also hit out at Lonmin bosses, saying they had been absolved of taking responsibility for their role in the tragedy.

"We know they urged the state to intervene, provided logistical support to the police and have spectacularly failed to hold their managers and directors to account," said Mathunjwa, adding that victims were not compensated and the root causes of the strike were not addressed.

He also said although it was long overdue, the union welcomed the news that government planned to compensate the victims of the 2012 tragedy.

He also said this was an admission of responsibility by the government which had recognised that the state "has been involved in the gross violation of human rights, namely the planning and execution of the Marikana massacre".

Read more on:    lonmin  |  saps  |  nathi mthethwa  |  riah phiyega  |  joseph mathunjwa  |  mahikeng  |  farlam commission  |  marikana

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