Marikana: Semenya, Mpofu fire last salvos

2014-11-14 13:55

After 300 days, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has finally completed its work.

All that’s left is for the commissioners, including retired Judge Ian Farlam, Adv Bantubonke Tokota and Advocate Pingla Devi Hemraj, to write up their recommendations and hand them over to President Jacob Zuma in March 2015.

But the last day was not devoid of arguments and counter attacks as the police’s Advocate Ishmael Semenya concluded his oral arguments stating that there was nothing ominous in the police’s conduct when they failed to reveal the National Management Forum meeting held on August 15 2012.

It has been argued that the decision to end the strike was taken that night by National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and her team, including provincial police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo.

“There doesn't seem to be anything ominous about what was discussed at the extra-ordinary NMF. There is no evidence that the “meeting” made the decision that the strikers would be dispersed on August 16 2012,” said Semenya.

But Farlam argued that if that was the case the police would have handed in the evidence of what was discussed at the meeting.

Phiyega was asked  during her testimony what was discussed at the meeting and she said: “I cannot be expected to remember pedantic details.”

Farlam challenged Semenya asking if the police weren’t hiding anything. “Why did they go to such lengths to conceal the evidence?” asked Farlam

Semenya argued that there was no way SAPS members could have foreseen that the people would have died on August 16.

“The use of teargas and the rolling out of barbed wire has never triggered an attack on the police. The police begged the miners many times to disarm and disperse. They went beyond their call of duty,” said Semenya.

He finalised his arguments imploring that he was not here to defend any single individual but he was defending a constitutional organisation, the police force.

But a few minutes later Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the wounded and arrested, was back tearing apart the case of the SAPS.

“Semenya has made some critical concessions. Yesterday he stated that the miners were committing treason by attacking the state. This is exactly what I had argued, that the game changer came on the 13th when two police officers died.

“The police did not care about the fact that others had been killed before this. As soon as one of theirs had been killed it was going to be war. These people we regarded as the enemy and how does a state deal with an enemy – it declares war against them and that’s what happened,” said Mpofu.

Farlam adjourned the commission stating that it was a “harmonious” commission.

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