Marikana 'was a war zone'

2012-08-19 13:38

Johannesburg - he police at Lonmin's Marikana mine were in a war zone and using rubber bullets against striking miners had no effect, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies has said.

"It was a war zone and the use of rubber bullets and teargas was completely ineffective," Johan Burger was quoted as saying in Sunday's Rapport newspaper.

He dismissed claims that the police were not able to apply crowd control measures.

"They were in the middle of an armed conflict against 3000 men armed with pangas and firearms... The armed group charged at the police. They could not allow themselves to be overrun. In that situation I would also have given the order to shoot."

Had the police acted differently, they would have been the ones killed, he said.

Police killed 34 miners and injured 78 others at the mine on Thursday.

The fact the highly-trained national intervention team was on the scene indicated that the police had realised ordinary crowd control measures would not suffice.

He said the commission of inquiry into the shooting, announced by President Jacob Zuma, should not only look at the police's actions, but consider the matter holistically.

  • kim.buren - 2012-08-19 13:42

    Exactly, STOP blaming the SAP. They were doing their job

      abrie.vermeulen.3 - 2012-08-19 13:47

      And might I add, they did it well.

      kim.buren - 2012-08-19 13:49

      Indeed Abrie

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-08-19 13:52

      Footage has apparently emerged showing the torture and murder earlier in the week of the two security guards at the mine. When will this be shown on international news? The police knew what they were facing and dealt with it accordingly. Let's see Julius lead the next attack from the front...

      daryltt - 2012-08-19 13:53

      Yea. It wasn't like they were holding the pangas and machetes because they wanted to talk. You reap what you sow, and unfortunately they were sowing war.

      Rudolf - 2012-08-19 14:07

      Indeed, and an additional positive 'spin-off' was that the police also DEcreased the un-employment figure!! Well done SAPS, for standing your ground, and doing your job(s)!

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-19 14:14

      AND tell it to Ms Nadine G. Who is still under the apprehension that the gathering was to recruit members for the Peace Corps, and to exchange greetings of goodwill pre-maturely to Dec 25th

      lumka.ludada - 2012-08-19 14:35

      Jongi Nondela - 2012-08-19 14:44

      The Police acted appropriately! they had lost two of their own already. were they supposed to wait for getting killed by people that were armed to the tooth?

      matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-08-19 14:58

      @Desilusionada, Hilarious!

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-08-19 13:47

    "Had the police acted differently, they would have been the ones killed" He could have added that the death toll would have been much higher. You can't negotiate with a man storming at you with a gun or a panga and murder on his mind...

  • jean.tredoux.5 - 2012-08-19 13:53

    Got slightly upset this morning when CNN reported that police fired at 'peaceful' protesters... I mean where do they get their info?!?!

      isabel.w.stokes - 2012-08-19 13:56

      It would not have made such good copy! Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-19 14:30

      From Malema at al..

      lindela.e.mtshali - 2012-08-19 14:33

      I always switch channels when I Nkepile Mabuse because of the way CNN and other international channels choose to report on South Africa and Africa as a whole. She is based here and she knows all sides of the story. Balanced reporting is not part of CNN's repertoire!

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-19 15:14

      Or Sky News.

  • jeremy.acton - 2012-08-19 13:58

    From the footage I have seen, the first shot that sounded was a single pistol shot fired by a miner. Two other shots hit the sand in front of the police line. A sector of miners also rushed the police so they had to run backwards to safety. They all did their job right. The impi mentality is what got people killed here. What legitimate strike action has people carrying machete's? A full commission of enquiry is a good idea,and I believe the SAP action will be vindicated.

      sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-08-19 14:03

      According to news reports the police recovered 6 guns after the incident - it was bound to happen sometime, tensions have been simmering there for months. The protesters did not storm the police to say a friendly hello.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-19 14:29

      the strike was not even legal, so that makes the armed miners actions an illegal act of aggression, which is a criminal act.

      Madoqua - 2012-08-19 15:31

      Look at the Al-jazeera footage taken from the side. It clear shows one miner firing a handgun at the police.

  • mikembengo - 2012-08-19 14:01

    to those who lost their in peace.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-08-19 14:02

    that a war zone? don't know what your talking about. ever been in a real war?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-08-20 09:01

      I have, that was about as "war" as you gonna get it..(without heavy artillery)

  • zwelethu.sabasaba - 2012-08-19 14:03

    CNN, we're sorry that the SABC took your business by being Africa's number one news agency, but that doesn't justify you from reporting lies about South Africa.

  • vmeiring1 - 2012-08-19 14:18

    At least someone is talking sense. I wonder what those big mouth politicians would have done if they were in that situation? They were confronted by lawless, armed, murderous barberians. They police acted 100%, and if I were in charge, I would have given the same command. It's about time Unions and their so-called members start to adhere to laws.

      isabel.w.stokes - 2012-08-19 14:29

      I can tell you. They and their bodyguard would have been hot footing it to the 4 x 4s with the big blue lights on. They will never get in the middle of a situation which involves them getting scratched or bloodied or even insulted. And heaven forbid they should actually be asked to work for a living! No, our politicians will watch this on TV like everyone else in between sipping the best Scotch and demonising capitalism.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-08-19 14:20

    The miners came prepared for an armed conflict. The outcome was predictable.

  • veritas.odium.paret - 2012-08-19 14:21

    FINALLY! Someone who makes sense. These guys were as armed as the Interahamwe that carried out the massacres in Rwanda in '94.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-19 14:27

    This was not a strike, it was an organised premeditated attack, Mr Malema you are guilty of treason, you are trying to start a war, ANC this wont go away quickly, AMCU & warmonger Malema are looking for a fight, they will be back for more, trust me, get ready, Malema thinks this is Lybia & he is Gaddaffi.

  • desmond.s.leaner - 2012-08-19 14:32

    Are you telling me that the police did not know beforehand that the miners had weapons? What happened to their riot guard equipment? Whoever sent these policemen to their death need to be held accountable. Asking "What should we have done?"..Please! You should have had a better strategy. And everybody on this page supporting the killing of ANY citizens - how totally inhumane of you! From the people who believe it was right to just kill people it seems that white people still rather justify harm that come to black people by saying they don't deserve better rather than looking at things holistically. Christian much? One good thing came from this. 30 odd new job opportunities have just become available in SA's great mining sector! After complaining about SAA excluding previously advantaged races from training as well as other jobs in SA, feel free to apply! Lets look at the benefits: - No BEEE policy stopping previously advantaged males from applying. - Salary is a world-standard of R4000 per month. - Accommodation provided in a scenic environment with the backdrop of unspoiled nature. - Its white owned, white managed, with "non-executive black directors" (including Cyril Ramaphosa). - You will be working for one of the top 2 platinum producers so you can be sure to contribute to this great economy. - You can follow in the footsteps of your forefathers by being involved in an industry that put this beautiful country on the map. Good luck with your applications.

      felican - 2012-08-19 15:53

      ANY death is a death too much - Hoewver this 'appears' to be more than actually meets the eye and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with COLOUR.. All will be revealed or concealed as to what they the powers that be want it to be.. Too much is brewing in the pots of bubble, bubble toil and trouble. And when will it all end?? ONLY the Shadow knows...

  • lumka.ludada - 2012-08-19 14:32

    Now how do we defend SAPS?\r\n

  • jacques.vanderlith.7 - 2012-08-19 14:34

    If you run at me with a panga and i got a gun well its gonna me or you.Both parties have families that they have to support and life in SA is hard so if you run at me with a panga the gun wil always win.Every body says crime is to high so when cops stop people from killing others then they are doing the right thing.Nobody is saying sorry to the cops that was killed,some people in this country are so blinded by hate and race wars that they dont see what is happening around them.Be carfull what you wish for becuse like Credo Mhutwa said,Mzansi will burn.Juju your are lighting the fire that wil burn and leave this country destroyed.Stupid people real stupid,the blood is on their hands.Viva SAPS Viva

      desmond.s.leaner - 2012-08-19 15:51

      You're just a citizen Jacques, not a highly trained policeman. Plus, its not like the police did not know what they were letting themselves in for?

      lucky.luck.98 - 2012-08-19 17:32

      Why they desperse them you must start reading the crowd management modules.they sitting on the hill protect the property and those who are not on strike.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-19 14:55

    Whilst there are many secondary questions to be answered there are three key issues. Most importantly these are seperate issues and will never be adequately resolved by merging them into composites. 1. Is the pay scale reasonable? That must be evaluated by using rational negotiations rather than rhetorical demands. 2. Were the strijers acting lawfully and in a reasonable manner. I wasn't there but I have formed an opinion based on what I have read and watched and that is a resounding NO. 3. Did the police behave effectively within their mandate to protect life and property. Not sure, but let's wait for the judicial review. In my opinion, there other factors are becoming political or media fodder, and that does not he;lp the situation one bit.

  • sarel.brits - 2012-08-19 15:03

    Yes this is what happens when you bring a panga to a gun fight

  • thulanit3 - 2012-08-19 15:22

    The miners brought this upon themselves,,,clearly these people wanted to assault and kill the police,,,it is lie to say that this was a peaceful strike,,civilian were heavily armed,,,uncontrolable and were hungry to ambush more police...!

  • felican - 2012-08-19 15:45

    AND what was the 'Indaba' and collecting of Pangas, etc. and taking to the Mountains - not permitting anyone to be there TWO WEEKS before all this ABOUT??? Was it just a co-incidence or is / was it about something else ?? Yes sad but reality bites indeed...

  • flysouth - 2012-08-19 19:29

    A sensible analysis. This was nothing less than an armed insurrection by 3000 miners (so-called but were they all really?). When 3000 armed men gather there can be no peaceful outcome unless the forces of law and order are prepared to roll-over. Nonetheless the discipline of the SAPS and in particular their command and control methods as applied 'on the ground' need examination. I do not believe any rder was ever given to open fire - it was the panic of one SAPS member which probably set off the event.

  • sandile.filita - 2012-08-19 19:35


  • sandile.filita - 2012-08-19 19:37

    @ abrie.vermeulen.3. Would you be saying the same words if the man KILLED was your father, brother or uncle?

      faffa.dutoit - 2012-08-21 07:56

      Sandile, my father, brother or uncle would not behave like that!! We respect the law!!! Finish en klaar!

  • sandile.filita - 2012-08-19 19:58

    Its shocking to hear that KILLING people is actually doing one's job. I still say that the police could have used some other means to combat the situation. There was no need to for MURDER!

      christo.botha.311 - 2012-08-19 21:21

      So Sandile, what would you have done had you been in the shoes of the police? If it was a peaceful strike why have the strikers been armed with spears, pangas and other weapons? The problem i you are an arm chair critic. The protesters over stepped the boundries. They had the opportunity to go in peace but instead they decided to attack. Violance is the bases of stricke action in South Africa. Its been cultivated by the likes of Malema. Why dont you ask the question as to who gave the strikers the bringht new shiny spears? So wake up Sandile you are clearly fast asleep.

  • tembinkosi.mhlakulo - 2012-08-19 22:23

    Its always painful to loose life, however I really think we South Africans need to respect the Law regardless of the circumstances. Today we are mourning unnecessarily so as I believe the miners, employers and the unions had they approached their challenges differently we wouldn't be mourning. I salute the Police force nationwide for its effort to keep the nation safe thru very challenging circumstances day and day out, loosing their lives in the process.

  • Marviesix - 2012-08-19 23:13

    Ok, i agree with the researcher

  • brionyl.french - 2012-08-20 05:55

    I blame the new Union, Because the NUMSA wasnt involved, Lonmin didnt know why they were striking and the strike was illegal... The new Union told these people strike for 3x more... That makes them responsible. Charge them with 30 odd counts of murder... The cops were doing thier jobs, it was kill of be killed, The water connon and rubber bullets didnt scare them off, it was their last resort!!! The TV footage proves all of this... so why we need to investigate when one can see for themselves i think Zuma, ANC is a joke...

  • mokgadi.deborah - 2012-08-20 06:11

    Johan Burger is pre-empting the outcome of an inquiry. Let the commission determine the input required to achieve their mandate. Our police lack skills to control crowds armed or unarmed. I stil believe rubber bullets could had been used to deal with the situation. Shooting randomly at protesters brought back the memories of apartheid police brutality. Unfotyunately there are some people who are still stuck in the past and conveniently ignoring what is happening around them.

      Johan De Beer - 2012-08-20 07:56

      He is pre-empting nothing.

      gawie.debeer.5 - 2012-08-20 16:08

      Where have you been?? It is the current Government that allowed traditional weapons in "peaceful demonstrations" But Traditional Weapons also Kill and disfigure people. it is the current government and it's employees who where on the firing line and i think that they did an excellent job at the time. I would to hear the outcome of the judicial inquire, as the can not blame this on apartheid anymore?

  • ian.webmagic - 2012-08-20 08:34

    Thank you SAPS members for restoring my faith in their capabilities. Shoot to kill.

  • mamello.molema.1 - 2012-08-20 09:40

    I can't wait to see how justice will solve this.

  • Matthew - 2012-08-20 10:30

    They didnt kill enough of them. WOuld love it though,if the UNION leaders pushing these people to violence, would stand in front lines with them. Cowards. using the people to do your dirty political agenda.

  • lyn.palmer.338 - 2012-08-20 11:26

    Interviewing one racist take on this situation is not good reporting, nor is it 'holistic'.

  • steveroodt - 2012-08-20 14:48

    Phiyega urged police officers to be cautious and vigilant and to wear bulletproof vests, shields and helmets at all times. "We confront, every day, heartless criminals who are gunning for our lives," she said. "You can put yourselves in danger a thousand times and come out unscathed or just once and not make it. You never know in advance how things will turn out and that is our line of work." As I stated in my last post

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