Cele: Make Marikana inquiry findings public

2015-04-24 07:29
Bheki Cele (Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld)

Bheki Cele (Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Former police commissioner Bheki Cele says the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's findings into the Marikana shooting should be released.

"It should be made public," he told News24.

"Some of us, our commissions were live and the results were there for everyone to read."

Thirty-four people were killed near Lonmin's platinum mine near Marikana, North West, when police tried to disperse striking miners on August 16, 2012. More than 78 people were injured.

Ten people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the previous week.

The commission's report was handed to President Jacob Zuma at the end of last month. Comment from the presidency on whether it would make the report public could not be obtained.

‘Shooting wouldn’t have happened under me’

Cele is adamant that if he was police commissioner at the time, the shooting would never have happened.

"That one I guarantee, I put my head on the block. They would not have Marikana if I was still in the police. No matter what people throw at me, saying I taught the police how to shoot and all that, there would not be Marikana."

Cele defended himself against those who would argue that he could say this because nothing of that magnitude happened while he was police commissioner.

He used examples such as the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche in Ventersdorp on April 3, 2010, which threatened to inflame racial tensions.

"[This] could have caused us a huge challenge... if it was not handled properly."

Calm in a crisis

Cele said he dropped everything at the time and went to Ventersdorp, where he stayed until Terre'Blanche's funeral.

"There was a very troublesome guy... he wanted blood and war now and here. At one time I had to pull him aside and threaten him... On the funeral day I took my commanders... we literally went there and stayed there...

“So people shouldn't come and tell us nothing happened. That one was bigger than Marikana. If it was not properly handled we would have seen what we have never seen in South Africa," he said.

Cele argued that a police commissioner needed to calm people during a crisis and many professional police officers could not do this. This was something current police commissioner Riah Phiyega was not able to do, he said.

"Professional police have no access to the masses on the ground. Phiyega has no access. If you don't have access and you don't walk with them, you [are] putting all this stress on the police."
Source of information

He said South African police were very stressed.

Police and their commissioner needed to build rapport with communities.

"It doesn't matter how much your police are trained, what a sharp shoot (sic) they are. It doesn't matter how much your investigators are trained. Your info comes from one source and one source only - the community," said Cele.

Read more on:    police  |  riah phiyega  |  bheki cele  |  marikana inquiry

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