Marikana residents have mixed emotions over report on shootings

2015-06-26 16:25


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Marikana - Some are angry, some feel cheated and some have made peace with it.

These are the range of emotions described by residents of Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana near Rustenburg on Friday, a day after President Jacob Zuma released the long-awaited findings of the report by the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the deaths of 44 people during a platinum miner strike in August 2012.

"I did not know President Jacob Zuma was releasing the report, I was told by a friend. I think it was unfair to us, because we were not informed that the report will be released on yesterday [Thursday]," said Fuzile Mnika, 33.

"People in this area were surprised. We expected the report to be released at the end June, not yesterday."

He said the short notice did not give them enough time to find a television to watch it.

'I think the whole thing is a cover-up'

Zuma was supposed to have given two days' notice before releasing the report. This was according to a recommendation made by a court, which heard an application to have the report released urgently after the president sat on it for almost three months.

"I think the whole thing is a cover-up. Why will the report be released five days before the planned date, if there is nothing to hide? He released the report in the evening, knowing we will not be able to hear a word because we were not informed."

Another resident, Liau Poka said he hoped the report would not open healing wounds, but bring peace and friendship among residents affected by incident.

"People have been calling for the report to be released in public. Some even went to court demanding the report. Now that it has been tabled, what more do we want?"

He said the report offered an opportunity for reconciliation.

"I hope people accept the report and move forward."

'I have learnt that anger will not help'

Poka said some of his friends were injured and arrested after the shooting on August 16, 2012.

"I was angry, but I have learnt that anger will not help..."

Sindiswa Sisani said it was not easy to accept the commission's report.

"We want to know who ordered the police to shoot. We just want to know that and why were the police ordered to shoot. The police must come clean... what were they thinking - shooting people carrying sticks?" she said.

The commission found that Lonmin did not use its best endeavours to resolve the disputes that arose between itself and its workers who participated in the unprotected strike, on the one hand, and between the strikers and those workers who did not participate in the strike.  

It also did not respond appropriately to the threat of, and the outbreak of, violence. 

The commission has also found that the two trade unions, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), did not exercise effective control over their members and supporters in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others. 

It also recommended a probe into national police commissioner Riah Phiyega's fitness to hold office.

Forty-four people were killed during a wildcat strike at Lonmin mines in Marikana. Of those, 34 were killed on August 16 when the police fired at them, while another ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed a week earlier.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  marikana  |  marikana inquiry

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