Marikana: 'Police can't be peace brokers'

2012-08-17 10:04

Johannesburg - Police should not be “peace brokers”, they said following a massacre at the Marikana mine in which more than 30 people were killed.

Police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said police figures indicated that "over 30" people were killed in Thursday's shoot-out at the mine in the North West, which he described as "a tragedy".

He said that the official body count could rise as more information emerged.

Mnisi said police were called in to maintain order after the violent protests claimed the lives of 10 people, two of them police officers, in the past week.

"This cannot be a policing matter.... We are coming to a point where we have labour matters that police cannot resolve," he said.

Union leaders and mine management should have met to defuse tensions and prevent the bloodshed.

"Police should not be peace brokers. We cannot resolve labour matters. Where was the voice of unions and management?" Mnisi asked.

‘Peaceful protests planned properly’

Mnisi said the workers had a constitutional right to protest "but [the Constitution] does not say you have a right to be violent when you protest".

The strikers should have involved the police when planning their protests, as a security plan could have averted the trouble.

"There are so many peaceful protests that are properly planned," he said.

Mnisi said that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate was on the scene, and that a full investigation was underway.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers says the death toll has risen to 36.

"Our shopstewards on the ground report that 36 people were killed," said National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary Frans Baleni.

"We are extremely saddened by this loss of life, it could have been avoided."

The protests, which began last Friday, are believed to be linked to rivalry between the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted higher wages.

  • martin.wohlfarter.5 - 2012-08-17 10:08

    Big up to the SAPS!

      marius.koen.16 - 2012-08-17 12:19

      Hardly a week after our high from the Olympics we are crushed down because of this. South Africa is once again in the news, but for all the wrong reasons.

  • natalie.gelonese - 2012-08-17 10:15

    The Police cant be relied on either !!!

  • lood800 - 2012-08-17 10:19

    Cant wait to see how they blame apartheid this time!

      NatashaDawnQuinn - 2012-08-17 13:15

      Wait. I am sure it is coming. It's not a News 24 article without it reverting to some kind of race issue.

      morama.sebata - 2012-08-17 14:18

      Apartheid is would always be blamed you moron.

  • tj.maseko3 - 2012-08-17 10:20

    We can't blame the police action

  • Barryboots - 2012-08-17 10:20

    My thoughts and prayers are with the police for having to do what it took to restore order. People cannot just act as if they are above the law and attack police without consequences. My condolences for the families left behind by innocent victims of the violence and even the families of the perpertrators incited by their 'faction' leaders.

  • opinion.blake - 2012-08-17 10:21

    So how many were killed at Sharpville? Did'nt the police also claim self defence?

      monde.sibisi - 2012-08-17 10:56

      Sharpeville was a peaceful march sir, it just happened that one bastard cop fired his weapon, and 25 mins people were dead with not a single police casualty

      Rudolf - 2012-08-17 12:11

      As peacefull as throwing stones and 'necklasing' people CAN be I suppose...

      pieter.calitz - 2012-08-17 13:21

      @monde.sibisi. It looks like you know more than we do. According to the crowd was initially calm .. but let me cut and paste from Wikipedia. "Sabre jets and Harvard Trainers approached to within a hundred feet of the ground, flying low over the crowd in an attempt to scatter it. The protestors responded by hurling a few stones (striking three people) and making repeated attempts to charge the police barricades. Tear gas proved ineffectual, and policemen were forced to repel these advances with their batons.[7] At about 1:00 pm the police tried to arrest an alleged ringleader. There was a scuffle, and the throng surged forward. At least two officers present on the scene warned their men to load firearms but stressed they were only to be used in cases of dire emergency.[7] Protestors began screaming as they succeeded in reaching the fence and tearing the gates from their hinges. One police commander was thrown to the ground; others were possibly pelted with makeshift projectiles.[7] The shooting began shortly thereafter.[2]" Now my question is it different from yesterday? The only difference is there were about 19000 protesters against fewer than 20 police.

      bobo.jane.1 - 2012-08-17 13:33

      @monde.sibisi _ Where you there ?, please tell me in your own words what happened that day..Not what I`ve read in the books/papers.

      pieter.calitz - 2012-08-17 13:47

      @monde. According to there were 19000 people and less than 20 police officers. The crowd turned violent after jets flew over them and people in the crowd hurled stones and tried to break down the barrier surrounding the police station. After 10 minutes yesterday 36 people were dead and not a single police casualty. What is different?

  • Mya - 2012-08-17 10:23

    What happened to rubber bullets?

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 11:14

      what happened to peaceful protest, lets not forget that these protesters chopped 2 police officers to death with machetes & stabbed another.

      siphom.mnguni - 2012-08-17 11:32

      Mya,how do you use rubber bullets against people armed to the teeth including unlicensed firearms. For your information one of the firearms recovered on the scene was robbed from a policeman butchered on Monday? Loss of life on either side is regrettable,however,a question needs to be asked as to how do you negotiate a labour dispute armed to teeth?

      jacqueline.engelbrecht.54 - 2012-08-17 13:25

      And the pangas were pool noodles....

      martin.wohlfarter.5 - 2012-08-17 14:14

      If you study the video footage you'll see the front row officers using rubber bullets, hence all the dust. Rubber bullets are fired at the ground in order to bounce and not at the person, as they also can kill. When the protesters did not head and the front row of officials retreated a few sharp shooting officers will defend with single shots.

  • andrew.arde - 2012-08-17 10:24

    Peace brokers......maybe not, law enforcers.....most definitely. 10 people had already perished in violence related to this, so they were acting as law enforcers!

  • gary.williams.7186896 - 2012-08-17 10:26

    Sharpville - ANC style!! I wonder if the 17th of August will become a public Holiday

  • Jo.Davies123 - 2012-08-17 10:31

    "Strikers should have involved the police when planning their protests"?!?

  • Mhlonso - 2012-08-17 10:34

    Under the ANC black life is still cheap.

      Rudolf - 2012-08-17 12:13

      Welcome to the 'New' south africa! The only thing that changed is that Now you can blame 'apartheid' for just about EVERYTHING....

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-08-17 10:35

    You carried weapons and your intentions was clear...Suffer the consequence!!!

  • blignault.michaele - 2012-08-17 10:39

    Of course it could have been avoided, if the unions had followed dispute protcol, and not become involved in a power struggle at the expense of the workes.

  • mariuskowie - 2012-08-17 10:39

    What is the function of the police supposed to be? If two labor unions are fighting for dominance at a specific place of work, the management of that place of work is powerless to defuse the situation. When the first person was killed, the situation changed from a labor dispute to a criminal murdering mob. Are the police not supposed to act against criminals, even if they represent themselves as "protesters"? Who will protect the innocent, if the police wont be "be peace brokers" and maintain the peace?

  • piet.hannibol - 2012-08-17 10:39

    You storm a bunch of cops with knives and pangas and you are sure to get shot. Basic logic should have told them it's a bad idea. And - who else to enforce rule Mr Mnisi - looks like you dont fully appreciate Africa mentality.

  • hummy.ramukhuvhathi - 2012-08-17 10:39

    What must the poor police do now they act there are wrong they dont act there a wrong..come on people.

  • mfundoj1 - 2012-08-17 10:40

    NUM vs AMCU

  • martin.ferguson.7311 - 2012-08-17 10:40

    wild west

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-08-17 10:41

    Where was NUM when events were leading up to this? Why did they keep silent when people came to demonstrations armed? Why did they not release a statement and move quickly to put in check their followers when the guards and police officers were killed in that horific manner of being hacked with machetes and being burnt to death? I bet now they will claim it was kind of a wild-cat strike and not properly sanctioned by them

  • mzukisijola.jose1 - 2012-08-17 10:56

    Shame on you police,shame on you union why is the life of an african is so cheap

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-08-17 10:59

    Will the minister be stepping down and the new general of police will follow in his footsteps?. What disturbed me was that the officials refused at first to say how many victims there were. Sharpeville the second.

  • Gavin - 2012-08-17 11:03

    Unions are offering their members the whole shebang, in an effort to keep their union fees rolling in. when the relevant companies are unable to comply, then the blood flows. the ANC have allowed their union buddies free reign - a policy that is now getting people killed.

  • wackidmaledu - 2012-08-17 11:08

    Irresponsible union leaders and trigger happy cops have caused pain to the country!!..

      gerhardmandy - 2012-08-17 11:46

      I am one of the mine workers whife!!it was sad to see the strikers die like that but they have been warned!!the police protect us!and that is what they did!!10 innocent people were killed by these strikers IN COLD BLOOD!some beaten to death some burned and some haked with pangas!police are making sure no more innocent lives are taken!!the strikers could have done this diferently without annyone getting hirt!!!

  • jay.sean.792197 - 2012-08-17 11:08

    life is cheap in africa! its sad but true

      balan.morgen - 2012-08-17 12:11

      life is cheap everywhere you go on this planet.

  • james.mazizonke - 2012-08-17 11:26

    Why the police kill the people?

  • phillip.phogole - 2012-08-17 11:26

    Police are the killer since Beki cele ordered the police to shoot and kill Nathi Mthethwa must step down

  • phillip.phogole - 2012-08-17 11:28

    nobkerie versus R1 Rifle police are wrong

  • danny.archer.589 - 2012-08-17 11:32

    'Police can't be peace brokers' Damn STRAIGHT!

  • zwelithinidavid.masilela - 2012-08-17 11:36

    Obviously, most people have never especially white community never had relatives working in those unsafe mine shafts.our Father's and uncles perished under such circumstances. today in Democracy police shoot with live ammunitions to civilians. what happened to rubber bullets. its a shame to our land. one proffessor once said, " we have a beautiful country but one day we will loose it through senseless killings". our mother's have been widowed through such actions. Presidents of Africa are not feet to hold high offices. bread winners are gone. im in tears, i lost relatives and one uncle of mine till today still missing,through usafe mines and they maximise profits and Pay Peanuts.

      gunter.boisits - 2012-08-17 12:37

      I hear your pain, but always remember, if you are a policemen and a mob with pangas is attacking you - use your gun or your hacked to death, this idiots got what they asked for! Remember they had muti to make them brave....

  • keith.recore - 2012-08-17 11:36

    there are no winners here, not the dead miners and their families, not the police and not the mine owners. Has life been so devalued that this is the end product? Can you honestly tell me there was no peaceful means and urgency to deal with these issues prior to the police using live rounds on their own citizens? Surely there are intelligent enough miners/union members and mine owners who could have prevented this from going this far. It is a sad day for all of South Africa for the world to see for whatever reason, it's own police killing their own citizens, regardless of who is right or wrong, this is plain wrong. Value needs to be given to human life to a decent wage and life and people should not be used as pawns for selfish economic or political reasons. South Africa is better than this, today, not so much!

  • jan.parraman - 2012-08-17 11:40

    It is about time the police started doing their job cant allow people to do as they please and endanger others life's. So I say good on you SAPS

  • tsullo.shedile.1 - 2012-08-17 11:42

    It's sad to see police officers killing people in such a gruesome act. Please Mr president make it your duty to investigate

      dimitripappas - 2012-08-17 12:41

      It's definitely sad, but I find myself disgusted at this country in general, rather than sympathizing at all for the dead (strikers) this time around. If you think you're going to gain something by stampeding like ruthless animals armed with PANGAS/KNIVES/STONES as if we're back in the days of Blood River, against an innocent line of POLICE that are merely trying to keep sanity and calm. Good job to the police

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-17 11:43

    It is time the mines and all businesses kick out unions. They are the people who make promises to workers and when it is not working this happens.The workers could already see how they are going to shop and now it is not working the unions start shifting the blame around.

  • james.mazizonke - 2012-08-17 11:44

    The police must use rubber bullets not guns.

  • mpmbilase - 2012-08-17 11:47

    Yes, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the mine management team negotiators

      allan.keyzer - 2012-08-17 12:33

      300% salary increase demands with both unions claiming to represent the workers? I don't think so!

  • barend.steyn.9 - 2012-08-17 11:56

    Another reason to ban trade unions who are destroying this country.

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-17 11:59

    The police at lease try. Get rid of all the unions, kick them off your premises, they make this silly promises and mislead the workers.

  • thabang.mokoena.7 - 2012-08-17 12:01

    what were they protesting for....? mybe if we fully understand that, then we can start to point fingers

      jacqueline.engelbrecht.54 - 2012-08-17 13:30

      They were protesting for higher wages, though I agree with that, the minute they took up weapons and armed themselves turned a potential negotiation into a stand off as mine execs refused to negotiate till the protest was peaceful and non-violent. The protestors killed 10 INNOCENT people including 2 police officers. The PROTESTORS turned violent, the PROTESTORS charged at the police. I am 100% behind our police force here and say well done to them.

  • tiaan.cornelissen - 2012-08-17 12:11

    die polisie moes geweet het jy van nie n water pistool nie n gun fight toe nie. hulle het net hulle werk gedoen. as jou lewe in gevaar is moet jy maar stil staan en toe kyk hoe j vermoor word of nie. jamer aan die lewens wat verloor is aan alby kant maar wie nie hoor nie moet voel

  • lorna.sisusa - 2012-08-17 12:31

    I Know this is sad but How do you expect Police to react if you gonna shoot at with Guns.. Shoot with them Rubber bullets???

  • rsole.sole - 2012-08-17 13:16

    Has the ANC taken over News24. News24 is going to become their propaganda machine. Time to find a more open and transparent news site.

  • mogomotsi.phillip.modise - 2012-08-17 13:21

    I do condemn the loss of lives in the strongest terms, however the blame should be with the NUM, Lonmin plat nd Amco including the strikers behaviour. If they ddin't refuse to surrender their weapons or shoot at the police officiers, then tear gas and rubber bullets could've done them favour and not the R5's riffles. Look now our police are as bad because of them. Peace be with you.

  • jacqueline.engelbrecht.54 - 2012-08-17 13:33

    What would have happened if the mob decided to take their anger out on the adjacent settlement? How many women and children would have been hurt or killed? What would have happened to the police officers standing there if they had not defended themselves? How many corpses wearing blue would have been taken to a state mortuary? The SAPS made a tough decisions but they protected their own and the potential lives lost from the near by settlement. It was a touch call to make but I think they did the only thing they could have done at that moment.

  • Chris - 2012-08-17 14:20

    F.... you Mnisi and the miners, shoot the lazy asses or put them on a ship back to Zaire, they can be glad they have jobs, lazy idiots !!!

  • tsukutlane.mafatle - 2012-08-17 17:05

    It is very much clear that the police went there to avenge revenge on their killed two cops. If protesters were armed with guns as purported, how many casualties on police side? This is a sad state of affairs and the govt. has to take a decisive action against all involved including the commissioner and the minister responsible.

  • lesleygodsgift.khamuseb - 2012-08-17 17:26

    This so sad that lives have been lost, due to this responsible behaviour of SAPS,they were supposed to use rubber bullets, this is so wrong and somebody must be held liable for this and the minister and commissioner must step down for killing innocent people!

  • lesleygodsgift.khamuseb - 2012-08-17 18:16

    This is so sad, how could the SAPS take innocent lives? I mean someone must be held accountable and the safety minister must step down, the role of the police is to "serve and protect" not to kill innocent people! Yet again this proves how cheap human life is in Africa! Now someone is fatherless!! sad really sad!! who fired the first shot? surely the police!!

  • Marviesix - 2012-08-17 18:18

    I would really will not he blame the Police. And for maya who asked bout the Rubber Bullets, try to find another video from different angle and you will see that some of the police were shooting them with rubber bullets but they just stormed through to the other police officer, who in my opinion did what they had to do, Which i will forever support and say its not wrong and was the right choice, If you protest or strike, then you don't go with Spears, knifes and Panga, they came there for violence and that's what they got.....

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