I’m sure we won’t see another Marikana – Zuma

2012-09-21 09:01

President Jacob Zuma says he is sure South Africa will not see another incident such as the one where police shot 34 striking miners dead at Marikana.

Zuma was last night addressing the annual general meeting of the Johannesburg Attorneys Association.

Zuma spoke directly after former Constitutional Court Justice Johann Kriegler told the meeting South Africa was in a “bad place”.

“I don’t think any of us dreamt we would ever again see dozens of bodies; bloodied, wounded, dying and dead ... shot by the police”, he said.

After reading a prepared speech about the rule of law and the future of the legal profession in South Africa, Zuma agreed that Marikana had been “a shock to all of us”.

But Zuma said he didn’t “think we can say we are almost back to apartheid time. In my view that is an exaggeration ... we are a democratic country”.

Zuma said that if the fault was with the police, that had to be rectified.

“As legal people there are things we should not take as a given. I don’t think we should take the culture of people who protest while carrying dangerous weapons,” Zuma said.

The president said this was contrary to the principle of the rule of law.

In Zuma’s address, he said access to justice for the poor and those who lived far from cities was a critical concern.

He said that justice had remained a preserve of the “rich and privileged”.

Zuma also said that the controversial Legal Practice Bill was grounded in the Bill of Rights and welcomed the ongoing debate about its provisions.

Zuma stressed the importance of diversity within the legal profession.

Earlier, Kriegler had said that the president was “not always well advised” but that Zuma was always ready to serve the interests of the country.

Kriegler said he was “afraid that the message that has gone out is that if you are violent and you threaten, then you get what you asked for”.

Kriegler said this was contrary to the rule of law.

“This is not Zimbabwe, this is South Africa ... if a court issues an order, it is obeyed,” said Kriegler.

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