Retrain trigger-happy cops, says union federation

2013-08-12 14:48

Police should be retrained to prevent a recurrence of events such as the one at Marikana last year, trade union federation the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu) has said.

“Police need to be retrained on how to handle situations such as the one in Marikana. If they had been properly trained, these killings would not have taken place,” Nactu spokesperson Mangaliso Mdhlela said today.

“The police at Marikana behaved the same way the apartheid government behaved when its police (mowed) down 60 protesters in Sharpeville. The Marikana incident was a wanton disregard of our Constitution’s provision to respect life,” he said.

Mdhlela said police could be trained “differently” to stop them being “trigger-happy”.

The federation would call on mine bosses to substantially increase workers’ wages and improve their living conditions.

“The low wages of mine workers and their living conditions are an indictment on the mine bosses. Mine workers literally live in shacks,” he said.

The federation also wanted government to provide a budget for lawyers who represented the interests of miners at the Farlam commission of inquiry.

The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s Marikana operations in North West last year.

Friday will mark a year since 34 people were shot dead in a clash with police. Ten people died in the preceding week.

“In the interest of justice, the government has a responsibility to provide funds for the miners’ lawyers,” Mdhlela said.

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