Not a time for blame, says Zuma

2012-08-17 20:24

Johannesburg - A commission of inquiry would be set up to investigate the causes of a shooting that left 34 people dead in the North West, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

"The inquiry will enable us to get to the real cause of the incident, and to derive the necessary lessons," Zuma said.

"However, today is not an occasion for blame, finger-pointing or recrimination."

Zuma was addressing a press briefing at Lonmin's Marikana Platinum mine near Rustenburg. He was accompanied by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu, Minister of State Security Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu and the national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

A total of 34 people were killed in a shootout that erupted near the mine on Thursday when police tried to disperse striking miners.

More than 78 people were injured. Another 10 people had by then been killed in the violent protests at the mine over the past week.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted higher wages.

Zuma said calm needed to be restored.

"Today is about reminding ourselves of our responsibilities as citizens. We have rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution of the republic, such as the rights of association, assembly and freedom of expression. We can protest against any institution peacefully.

"It is one of the cornerstones of our hard won democracy," he said.

Zuma it was a day to mourn together as a nation and to start rebuilding and healing.

  • kim.buren - 2012-08-17 20:38

    Is it only because it is your voters that died and you now are 30 less? Your own police commissioner gave the green light fool, while you were out the country.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-17 21:33

      May there balls start to itch and their fingers turn in to fish hooks

      alastair.grant.98 - 2012-08-17 22:14

      If you were running a REALLY dysfunctional government, what would you say every time something went wrong? "This is not the time for blame". Oh, and "we will establish a commission". Not much else you can say, really, unless you are prepared to take responsibility, and resign. Speaking of which, Riah, "taking responsibility" is absolutely meaningless unless there are consequences for doing so. There are lots of mistakes in government, but not many firings or resignations. My advice: say publicly that you will resign if the police are found to be in the wrong. I don't think they will be, but your credibility will go up just by placing your career on the line. It's time we had someone with balls at the head of the police service.

      anthonycharles.williams - 2012-08-18 08:46

      "not the time to blame" really!! People are DEAD, and its not the time to blame??? For the love of our country, Man wake the f$$k up. Do not cover this one up, YOU know who it is "unions" and both parties. Do not and I say again, Do not sweep this one under the rug.

      harold.parsons.37 - 2012-08-18 14:02

      He must now get rid of his traditional weapons and his stupid song bring my machine gun. His people brought their machine guns and the police sorted them out. The miners must also return the firearms they stole off the policemen that they killed.

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-17 20:40

    We have been waiting for this for a long time. The goverment always making funny laws did not condem people stiking with weapons, stopping workers wanting to go to work. Not cosatu say a word and the police where standing back and whatching from a distance. This had been going on for yearsand the workers had no respect for anybody because they were getting the message that this is a right and can do whatever they like.

      nico.loubser.9 - 2012-08-17 20:52

      You are so right. This is just like that. Thank you for saying that.

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-17 21:01

      Spot on Patricia - see how the laws will now change with regard to traditional weapons.

      rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-17 21:11

      christelle: I do hope that you are correct about that, but I fear that it will lose too many votes. I will be very happy to be proved wrong!

  • boltonbarry - 2012-08-17 20:42

    This is the opportune moment for a blame game. Moreover it is a time for accountability

      berra.vandenheever - 2012-08-18 09:09

      History repeats itself. This is the ANC's Sharpeville.

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-17 20:45

    Dear Mr President - I'm surprised no-one's informed you that at least one of the cornerstones of this Democracy was never, ever communicated in any meaningful way in the last 18 years. Violence is so much part of our every day lives. This particular incident just happens to have a higher profile

  • rupert.richter - 2012-08-17 20:48

    A commission of enquiry to be set up. Excellent. More taxpayers money being WASTED. The police did their job and now we have to Investigate the "cause"? I'll tell you what the cause was: the miners were swept into a frenzy with their muti and wanted a confrontation. They got it. Wage dispute was the excuse. If you wanna play with the big dogs....

  • marius.koen.16 - 2012-08-17 20:49

    This is your watershed moment, Zuma. What you do and say the next few days is very important. So rather keep quiet.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-08-17 20:51

    why do my comments disappear, when aired

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-08-17 20:55

      News24 hates the truth and particularly if you're pro the police commissioner for the job well done.

      tw2066 - 2012-08-17 21:04

      why does common sense dissapear when the Showerkop speaks .......... Another one of those UNIQUELY AFRICAN experiences

      Visko - 2012-08-18 00:00

      They do the same with mine! Is it because I'm an Australian?

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-17 20:53

    And so we hit the road to the ultimate conclusion. Altogether now "No one's responsible." Accountability is an alien concept unless it suits a political agenda.

  • potician.analisty - 2012-08-17 20:54

    south africa move back to apartheit time when last solution was to kill its own use live ammunition was not last sollution,south african police uses maximum force to control the death is too many,when you look at the video you can see that the police are not properly trained to control mass action.when you look at video you can see most of the police were armerd with assaullt riffle,for the intention to kill.we can't keep quiet while we loose so many lives within three minute,some have to take accountable for these massaccre.when you start to kill,you will keep on killing.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-17 20:58

      And you want them to wave pom poms at them after they already hacked police officer to death and burned two security officers to death. They should have killed more of them

      tw2066 - 2012-08-17 21:06

      Your telling us - the white folk certainly know about apartheid, the racist SAA and the racist ANC regime have seen to that!!

  • potician.analisty - 2012-08-17 20:55

    south africa move back to apartheit time when last solution was to kill its own use live ammunition was not last sollution,south african police uses maximum force to control the death is too many,when you look at the video you can see that the police are not properly trained to control mass action.when you look at video you can see most of the police were armerd with assaullt riffle,for the intention to kill.we can't keep quiet while we loose so many lives within three minute,some have to take accountable for these massaccre.when you start to kill,you will keep on killing.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-17 20:59

      "when you start to kill,you will keep on killing." And that is what these rioting scum have been doing the past week

  • Thulani - 2012-08-17 20:57

    To blame or not to blame this should be a lesson to people who are not solders, never protest with weapons becouse we getting confuse wheather you protesting or you here to fight. The police had to do whats needs to be done to stubbiliz the situation. \We have right to march, but peacefuly\. Our hearts are with those families who lost their loved ones.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-17 21:00

    Mr Zuma, what code are you using to corrupt the English languahe into gibberish? You want a probe, and enquiry into causes....but you do not want to know who is to blame!!!! Maybe your minimal education is at fault here...or are you just spouting words from somebody ele's crib-sheet? Maybe a dictionary definition of 'blame' will help understand the frustration that this statement is causing. According to, we have either finding fault/censure, or to hold responsible. Why bother to waste tax revenue if you do not intend to do either?

  • jimzimbo - 2012-08-17 21:04

    Typically predictible from a stupid out of touch idiot..........

  • joe.harolds.5 - 2012-08-17 21:07

    If you are a law abiding citizen of this country, why do you protest while carrying pangas, spears and guns? What were the police supposed to do? Ten people had died already. If you are shot at, you shoot back or you die. The Goverment must illegalise protests; Unions must negotiate while the members down tools and stay at home; no gatherings allowed! Just a thought!

  • Diana.Pittaway - 2012-08-17 21:10

    Can't blame SAP. They did their duty. I think we need to rethink our values all together. From a united point of view. Are we, are we not united South Africans? Creed and culture aside. We need to tolerate and understand each others plight. The privaleged (no matter what shade of skin)should feel empathy for all sides of this drama

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:26

      Diana sensible comment - although I disagree police were "doing their job" - their job is not to kill people or incite angry people - their job is to defuse a situation safely ... there was absolutely no reason to approach the protestors in the manner they did - they got spooked by their own fire and ended up massacaring people that gives our country a bad name in the news... See how the cops got spooked...

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:28

      The people who support the murder of these miners are in my view clearly racist - have scant regard for black life - these same people would be crying genocide had it been white etoll protestors killed by police for being disorderly.

      patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-08-17 23:28

      Nobody tonight will say killing people are ok. Jan why don't you stand infront of strikers that are armed. If you strike and stay at home that will get the message to the employers, but no they must be in the streets preventing people getting to work. The most important part of a strike is to damage other peoples property. I think it will be a god idee to identify them and go and burn his house, just for the fun becauce that is what they are doing.

  • wendy.schneider3 - 2012-08-17 21:14

    here it is again, d**s i hope you sleep well tonight, not everybody has the luxuary like you. thanks to the tax payer

  • Martin Geringer - 2012-08-17 21:16

    Its like we dont have a president. This is pathetic. He cant even condemn the violence...too scared of upsetting the unions••••his biggest source of votes.

  • arno.walt - 2012-08-17 21:17

    No neither a time to sing Umshini Wami

  • anton.scholtz1 - 2012-08-17 21:21

    lets have talks, a cup of tea and some more talks. that will fix it

  • cherri.pye.5 - 2012-08-17 21:27

    Why bother wasting more of the taxpayers money by setting up another commission of inquiry? It's obvious what killed the 34 - they were behaving like savages, tried to attack the law enforcement officers and got killed while doing so. Case closed.

      Tisetso2 - 2012-08-17 21:40

      cherri.pye, don't you think we need more qualified and authoritative opinion to know exactly what happened?

      cherri.pye.5 - 2012-08-18 10:11

      Yeah, jan, I guess those pangas, spears and guns were for ceremonial purposes. Try asking the relatives of the miners, security guards and policemen that had already been murdered by these thugs what they think of the situation. Is it hard work to remain as stupid as you are?

  • mariette.brand - 2012-08-17 21:32

    I cannot believe how many comments on the Lonmin saga I've read of people who condemn the mine workers for striking, for having to live in appalling conditions, while a foreign company with foreign investors lavish in the riches of our countries' soil. These are South Africans, they are our people, the money made from mining fall into the hands of foreigners, this money does not flow to the South African economy!! Maybe only to a privileged few who receive bribes and who can afford mining shares. Why must our citizens live like this?????? Why are their voices not being heard????? If someone cared, this would not have happened. These people are modern-day slaves to mine magnets and share holders. If this is the way Lonmin does business in South Africa, they can go and do business somewhere else!!! And I don't trust the labour unions either, they are most probably just as corrupt and power-seeking.

      dave.willard.79 - 2012-08-17 21:56

      They are free to strike - but they shouldn't attack. That's where the problem started.

      mosesbongane.sibanda - 2012-08-17 22:07

      well say Mariette.

      bongani.mtsweni.35 - 2012-08-17 22:11

      you do not use a gun and pangas when you protest.when you use violent means we will entertain your violent means. Your rights must not infringe those of others.

      Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-08-17 22:16

      You are a rare breed.

      rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-08-17 22:17

      mariette: By all means take a close look at business ethics and who is creaming off more than a fair amount (if anybody really take a look). BUT whatever the outcome of that it does not justify violence of any sort and it does not justify strikers using weapons and crowd numbers to intimidate. Once an apologetic approach for this typr of criminal behaviour is accepted and normalised it undermines everybodies right to live without threat or fear....still, just another ratchet up in the wild west mentality of SA!

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:30

      mariette.brand - what a patriot! I couldnt have said it better!

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:32

      Dave - they did not attack - the cops provoked and incited them then they got spooked when one of their own fired and massacred the miners...

      joyce.kweyama - 2012-08-18 05:59

      Well said Mariete. 21st century Neocolonialism

      pretoriawebdesigner - 2012-08-18 06:28

      The strike was not condemned, being armed was. If I come to your house to sell you something or negotiate and I come armed, brandishing weapons is that negotiation and peaceful?

      flysouth - 2012-08-18 11:19

      The miners may have it tough but they are not slaves - they are all free to seek other employment at any time and of course to protest and negotiate PEACEFULLY. The irrelevance of your argument is actually breathtaking - you are effectively saying that because the employer is a foreign entity such savage and stupid behaviour as we have seen - effectively an armed insurrection with 10 or more dead - is okay!

  • dave.willard.79 - 2012-08-17 21:41

    If the protesters did not provoke violence the Police wouldn't have used violence. All you who criticize - go join the Police and come see if it's fun in da sun or if you are so good as you think you are criticizing from your armchairs. If the cops don't do their work you complain - and if they do - you complain....They are not there to serve you as YOU see fit but as LAW dictates it. How 'bout you think of those Police officer's family and kids - and then ask yourself why those protesters did what they did.

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:36

      dave.willard.79 - watch this then jump to conclusions --

      dave.willard.79 - 2012-08-17 22:56

      Don't need to watch that. Every situation is different and each situation should be looked at on it's own. The fact remains - in this country there is a tendency of violence - and it must be stopped.

  • FeebleGastro - 2012-08-17 21:41

    Zuma is turning into an even bigger a$$hole by the day (even if some thought it impossible).

  • jeffrey.d.walker.9 - 2012-08-17 21:46

    What now? The ANC's own "Sharpville" ? Now no one must play the blame game? Cosatu and all these corrupt power hungry "Labour Unions" are to blame and of course as part of the " Alliance" The ANC and Zuma are to blame with their Revolutionary Communistic attitudes. Have you heard Zuma condemning the murder of farmers and the elderly white people? As the President of the country he is NOT playing the Democratic game with all the Racism, fascism, AA, BEE and so on, but let him feel the heat of this one "Marikanaville"

      flysouth - 2012-08-18 11:24

      I am very hopeful that this incident will signal the end of blind and uncritical support for the ANC. How can it be that even the most myopic voter who has, without thinking voted ANC all these years, will not now understand what the ANC is when it can preside over the slaughter of 30 and more of it's own in a new Sharpeville? What's good for the goose is also good for the gander!

  • marnus.lamprecht - 2012-08-17 21:47

    Some will disagree but I think that when you pose a danger to other or their property you open yourself up to be shot. For instance when they throw rocks at the cars and burn tyres on the N2 outside Cape Town, warn people that of what is going to happen if they continue their behavior and then shoot them. It is time the people that disrupt activities in this country be controlled and examples being made. You can air your grievances but you can't act like these people tend to do now. Parts of society try hard to make this a better place to live and to build this country into something better while other kill and break and ruin property and lives. The police has responsibilities towards law-abiding citizens and in this instance what would this unruly mob have done to the other people in the settlement?

  • bongani.mahlangu.923724 - 2012-08-17 21:49

    Whom to be blamed is our justice system,there is a lack of competency to SAPS. To shoot is not a solution.

      mosesbongane.sibanda - 2012-08-17 22:10

      well say Bongs To shoot and kill people is not ok at all'

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:38

      Agreed if SAPS were properly trained like the SWAT teams in US they would not have confronted the agitated miners and defused the situation by other is never OK nor looks good when policeman kill citizens.

  • siphom.mnguni - 2012-08-17 21:59

    You're quite right Mr Prez, blame wouldn't bring back those lost lives, but don't you think if you stood up on Monday roll your sleeves you would've saved further loss of lives? I'm just thinking out loud!

  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-08-17 22:07

    Aunty phiyega may we please have that group of policeman here in cape town for the ancyl thugs that are instigating violence. Bring that dude with that said he wanted to die with the mine workers so that we can grant him his wish.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-08-17 22:08

    Ponder and poke thrice, When you want to protest violently its now very precarious game.

  • Jesse Rowe - 2012-08-17 22:10

    Could this be a shift in the strategy by some higher, as yet unidentified, power, to bring discredit to the SAPS and police leadership? Maybe all is not as it appears to be?

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:40

      Police incompetency - they got spooked and fired not knowing were the fire was coming from...

  • Thobile Lugwadu - 2012-08-17 22:11

    Remember steve biko, he said\black man you are on your own\. Whites are rejoicing that so many blacks have been massacred by a black government. They have been complaining about voting fodder etc. Now people say enough is enough, they are siding with the murderous police. Those police killed our brothers like dogs and will suffer the same fate,one by one. They will never have peacefull sleep, they were merely the bullterries of the mining giant. Their hearts will burn in hell forever, mark my words some of them will leave the service soon.

      louis.nolte.3 - 2012-08-17 22:18

      I don't see too many whites rejoicing about stupid behaviour such as this.

      jan.vanrensburg.988 - 2012-08-17 22:42

      Your perception is right - most (if not all) of the whites on this forum have comments blatantly because black lives were lost - they would not be so easy if police opened fire on a group of violent AWB members in Ventersdorp after they killed the muslim man...but I am here to hopefully change your perception that their are some good white people out there who value life in general and not just other white lives.

      tw2066 - 2012-08-17 22:55

      So simple Thobile. Well know this - when you strike an X next to ANC in the next election, KNOW that you helped put the party responsible for a learner police Chief into power. Know that YOU helped put these people into the ground, just like Steve Biko warned you. The ANC today is NOT Bikos ANC. YOU have a choice, clear YOUR conscience. Dont always blame the white man. Stand UP AND BE COUNTED = take responsibility for YOUR actions, you ARE better than the ANC of today!!

      alastair.grant.98 - 2012-08-18 08:54

      Thobile - saying whites rejoice in the deaths of blacks - is like saying blacks can't govern, are corrupt etc. Sure, there are a few whites who believe these stupidities, just as there are a few blacks who are corrupt and can't govern (most of whom are in government at the moment - the evidence is clear to see). But I believe it simply isn't true of the majority. Of blacks, or whites. Those men were denied a decent education, are almost certainly family breadwinners, and found themselves caught up in an irrational action, egged on by peer-pressure (as I suspect you are). A lot of people mourn for them, and their loved ones. The police are under-trained and over-armed. It was a situation primed for disaster. Starting a vendetta, as you are proposing, is exactly the wrong thing to do. It hasn't worked in Ireland, in Sicily, in Pongola or Mannenberg. Blood feuds have never brought any joy to anyone, and they usually drag down their neighbourhoods or nations. Prosperous and peaceful nations are marked by their desire to let the law take its course - to find out who is to blame, and to assure fair working conditions. It really is time for you to learn from history, rather than trying to disprove it.

  • mosesbongane.sibanda - 2012-08-17 22:14

    no body think about the family of those victim ,police was very rong to kill people like that.

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-17 22:19

    Lessons? Zuma, YOU are to blame, you and your cronies who have repeatedly contributed to the lawlessness in our country by your low education standards, your lack of commitment to crime prevention, your continued release from prison of convicted criminals, your promotion of murder by justifying your very own action in the mass murder of women and children to suite the anc's goals, your continued corrupt practices stealing and splurging BILLIONS of rands on your own whims, your continued suppression of the masses whom you have gone so far out of your way to make sure they remain uneducated..... it goes on. RESIGN ZUMA, you and the 60 odd percent of the population who support the anc and their practices are to blame. But we know you have no shame. You will pass the buck. You will blame someone. The culprits will escape again. The rot will go on, and much more blood has yet yo be spilled. Wake up all you idiotic anc supporters. Stupid does not begin to describe you.

      Looker.Paul - 2012-08-18 10:11

      Give that man a bells!

  • ali.sharif.144 - 2012-08-17 22:23

    The ANC has become the high paid slaves and thugs of the white capitalist who continue to rule your country. South Africa needs a leader like President Mugabe.

  • ali.sharif.144 - 2012-08-17 22:26

    It is time for a real change in South Africa

      gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-08-17 23:00

      ya you racist dipsh.t.... time for you to change your blinkers...

  • mosesbongane.sibanda - 2012-08-17 22:29

    Mangaung must come, we will fight until all blood run out of our system , we can not allow Nkandla to run again it is time for change , this shower head old man must go to look after his wives.

      FeebleGastro - 2012-08-18 00:02

      Don't you a-holes realise that any change you a-holes will bring about will be as bad or even worse than any current situation. You are from Africa, you see.

  • sias1 - 2012-08-17 22:34

    ZUMA, you are to blame, step up for a change and make change. You are the worst president this country has ever seen,(apartheid leaders included).

  • alf.pop - 2012-08-17 22:35

    The fact that Zipper Zuma says Not a Time to blame can only mean that government and partners in the form of SAPS and Unions are in deep sh.t! The police minister stated cledarly that the police "never lost control". Of course not, dumbarse - how do you lose something you don't have. Is the blunt spear also blaming this on Verwoerd?

  • michael.varikas - 2012-08-17 22:55

    ANC are probably going to blame it on Apartheid like Mathews Phosa did when the text books due for 2012 on the ANC budget for 2012 were not delivered.. When was apartheid abolished??? What's that 20 years ago????? ANC you have lost control of our country..

  • ako.gutshwa.7 - 2012-08-17 23:23

    It is so sad that 34 people had to lose their lives like that but really if you were to be in policemen shoes what were you going to do, when armed miners charging to you. I'm sure if police didn't shoot there quite a number of police would be dead now and the comments would be saying these cops are useless how can they be overpowered by the miners. Yes it's painful but the police had to protect their lives as well those were heavily armed and remember two policemen were killed leading to this day of massacre. Do you still say police were wrong? Just this week a farmer assaulted three female cops they could have been killed as well just like the other cop who was killed by a rugby player last year.

  • Visko - 2012-08-17 23:58

    In Australia we would call this a cop-out. Hey Zuma, take some responsibility man!

  • tshepo.batista - 2012-08-18 00:15

    President do some bcoz wat u syng iz nt helpng 34 people ar dead thts 2 much

  • Ken - 2012-08-18 01:07

    Blame the capitalist. Now is the time to Nationalize the Mines, The Banks & Free distribution of the Land .

  • piet.matshipa - 2012-08-18 02:21

    Wow another stupid coment by stupid president I personaly blame myself for hving voted this stupid pres who always come up with excuse is serious mater

  • mundu.olewega - 2012-08-18 03:28

    Keep deleting my comments and I'll comeback and haunt you.

  • mundu.olewega - 2012-08-18 03:29

    Keep deleting my comments and I'll comeback and haunt you.

  • gandanga.tororo - 2012-08-18 03:38

    What inquiry zuma? You are responsible for the bloodshed. Remember the the shoot to kill statements of yours. tensions were there for some time. people had already died, so whats new that you intend to tell me. You cannot wash this one under the shower, blood is thicker than water. Run jacob, run$$$$!

  • MoshKaDeph - 2012-08-18 04:13

    You and your next wife are to be blamed. She compared running SA polise with running Shabeen.

  • Khomotso Lefofane - 2012-08-18 04:57

    our gorvement keeps giving power to criminals and people that take the law into their own hands, yes this is not the time to be pointing fingers bt they must be action mr president. its time to show a firm had.

  • joyce.kweyama - 2012-08-18 05:46

    Its time TO blame you for not transforming the economic system. Its tine TO blame your irresponsble police who shot those people.Its time TO ask yourself why youre a president when u knew you're NOT qualified for the job Time for you TO step down.