Police take flak as inquiry continues

2012-10-22 22:21

Johannesburg - The judicial inquiry into the shooting at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana continues in Rustenburg on Tuesday.

Fourteen of the 34 men killed by the police on 16 August were shot in the back, the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, heard on Monday.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, representing the Eastern Cape families of 20 of the men who died, said they were killed unlawfully by the police.

On 16 August the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of striking mineworkers encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 and wounding 78.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks, and iron rods.

The miners went on strike on 10 August, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

Ntsebeza said the police had claimed the mineworkers charged at officers because they had taken muti (traditional medicine) which made them feel invincible.

Ntsebeza said the police's response to the protest was aggressive, misguided, disproportionate, unreasonable, and unlawful.

Representing Saps, advocate Ishmael Semenya said evidence would prove that Lonmin, protesters, rival trade unions, and the mineral resources department could have avoided the bloodshed.

There was evidence that Lonmin had previously struck a wage deal outside collective bargaining processes with workers in July 2012.

Later on, the company "steadfastly" refused to engage workers over another wage dispute in August.

Semenya said police evidence would show that some protesters had wanted a "bloodbath", and that the police had set out to perform to the best of their abilities in a difficult situation.

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-10-22 22:36

    "The striking miners were unlawfully killed by police" this advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza says. Does she realize that the miners gathered together in a common purpose to charge the police line in order to either harm them or put the police in fear of them.The police fired in self defence.The miners charged at the police with machetes,knobkerries and spears & were encourage to attack the police. The actions of the police were actually in proportion to the mass threat that was posed by the miners, whom had already killed 10 people mind you, including 2 police officers ,2 security guards and 4 miners from other mines.The police were in an impossible situation and acted correctly.Groups of people who exhibit the intention to be violent and life-threatening should be held responsible for the consequences thereof.Armed rioters have no place in civil society because of their actions. Bottom-line is that the police are there to protect and serve their communities and if that means opening fire on a rampaging mob with machetes,pangas and knobkerries then so be it. If this was indeed a legitimate industrial dispute, then why do you go into a legitimate industrial dispute brandishing machetes?If this had been a peaceful protest then no one would have died, the miners brought offensive weapons to the strike and got killed for their charging the police line.

      tumisang.kolobe - 2012-10-22 22:43

      She?you ignorance is amazing, Advocate Dumisa is a very prominent gentlem, please google him and stop exposing yourself here.

      sani.ghana.3 - 2012-10-22 22:47

      After this inquiry the people will know 1 thing, you cannot just go and kill a person, here the police and striker is quilty

      Kwanele Mzwanele Masoka - 2012-10-22 22:55

      surely this is easy,under whose command were those cops operating and who gave them the order to engage

      lsfreak - 2012-10-22 22:58

      I'm sure out there somewhere there is RIOT gear laying around. I do remember seeing some, Yes at the stadium for the 2010 WC for the pree to see, what has happened to that :/ I guess that the powers that be told the police to get rid of this group before it started to look bad for their profits and the well trained SAPS used all that training and shot the crap out of the protestors cause the pies were getting cold :D

      sani.ghana.3 - 2012-10-22 23:00

      Kwanele Mzwanele Masoka these strikers they killed many people before and they wanted to kill the police, no we asking all these questions, the police killed these miners to protect themselves but its the policemens job to know about these things and not just kill to get away

      hugo.mcdonald.7 - 2012-10-23 12:26

      I'm glad that I did not become a police officer....I would not be able to wait for a striker and his friends pangas, etc to chop my body to pieces before shooting him...

  • eugene.muller.7 - 2012-10-22 22:45

    And people that got shot in the back should not have confronted the police. Did they expect to each have a free hug and a pat on the back. Of course they will run when the bullets are flying...away from the police. And no one runs backwards especially when they realise that they are far from bullet proof. How many more cops could have been killed that day? They are not the threat...

      lsfreak - 2012-10-22 23:09

      I've seen many riots over the seas on the TV. Those cops get pelted with stones, rocks and petrol bombs yet they don't use live ammo they pitch up with a batton and a sheild :/ If you ppl don't see the prob here then there is lil hope for us and we really are the violent country the world sees us as being :/

      corriecalitz - 2012-10-23 10:56

      Ek sal graag wil sien hoe die mense wat die SAPD nou so kritiseer , sou doen, indien hulle daar by Marikana die aanstormende gewapende massa moes trotseer , en mootlik hul eie lewe kon verloor.!!!!

  • MATLOSANE - 2012-10-22 23:18

    People should not be mislead by Mr. Ntsebeza, he is out there just to gain publicity, everyone is on police case, \never is said about innocent souls that were lost in the hands of the very mineworkers who are so proudly protected @ this juncture. we need to face reality, police had to shoot: \r\n1. 10 people died earlier!!!!!!!!\r\n2. Amongst them police!!!\r\n3. Were they deserving it?\r\n4. Security should be granted to all at all cost!\r\n5. before pointing look @ urself!\r\nAll this in mind I say no one was right, it is a lesson learned the hard way, say what ever @ the end it points to all of us one way or the other. Social inequality is fueling this inhumane behavior, we like it or not. Political socialites should Wake up and smell the \tea\ maybe. They are a new creation for condemnation finish and klaar, end of story.

      johnny.matsetse - 2012-10-23 04:56

      Well said

  • thandokwakhe.mbeje1 - 2012-10-23 00:13

    lendaba ibuhlungu futhi ivusa amanxeba kithi zakhamizi zaseNingizimu Afrika, uma kuwukuthi umthetho emaphoyiseni uzosebenza kanje? Ay 34 yabantu? Noma ngabe babehlome ngazo lezinto abazibalayo amaphanga nokunye ay iphutha nje leli. This is taking the nation back to the dayz of Sharpville massacre not to mention the Soweto uprising, and the quetion is, is there any difference in the behaviour of apartheid policemen and those of today? No, not at all if you see a police you fill unsafe??? Bcz u knw they might shoot and kill anytime

      mo.haarhoff - 2012-10-23 11:21

      So our next question should be: is there any difference between apartheid and today? On your answer, should your next vote be based.

  • punungwe - 2012-10-23 05:52

    If anything the real problem was that the police were too, too docile while the miners were murdering and murdering their colleagues with brazen impunity. Only when the brazen impunity of the miners threatened the lives of the police themselves did they act. By the time they acted, they had no other option but to act with maximum force to prevent a bloodbath of the police themselves being butchered by the spear, panga, kerry and pistol wielding mob. The mob had gotten to that state of mind because the police had failed to act decisively in the beginning.

  • gj.breytenbach - 2012-10-23 06:34

    Ek dink hierdie land is belaglik! Dis nou die land wat ek gebore was, maar vandag nie meer veilig voel nie. As die polisie nie eers hulle self mag beskerm nie hoe gaan hulle jou beskerm? Ek wens net al die siek bliksems en dis van alle rasse kan genees word.

  • louis.nolte.3 - 2012-10-23 06:39

    What should have happened is that the police should have dropped their weapons on the ground and let the miners kill all of them. That would have clearly been a better solution, how could they not have thought about it first!?

  • Lerato JT Mabitsela - 2012-10-23 06:46

    the police officers did what everyone of us would have done!They also are human guys,they could not have just stood there while their lives were threatened by pangas,knobkerries and all.They had to.Pitty we lost souls but it was clear something needed to be done,10 people were dead already.Should they have stood there and smiled?No ways

  • sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-10-23 07:30

    14 people were shot from behind (execution), police believe they could have mistaken their own gun fire to be that of the killed miners. Who ordered live ammunition to be used on striking miners? SA is not a war zone where you shoot randomly at your enemy. A lot has changed in terms of human rights since 1994.

      Tello Moleko - 2012-10-23 10:37

      Sefako pls tell us what were u going to do facing pangas,knoberies,etc and be honest

  • chule.qalase - 2012-10-23 07:39

    At the end of the day we will all know the motives behind all this mess and when the results are out and the truth is laid bare. When that is done, I wish every culprit is held responsible for loss of life. I for one wish to see the truth and criminals held and be given lives they deserve.

  • terrence.schwartz.1 - 2012-10-23 07:47

    IsFreak - welcome to Africa!

  • lianda.martin - 2012-10-25 12:54

    Can someone please tell me if the bullets taken from the bodies of people who were shot in the back, have been matched to particular rifles? WHO WAS CARRYING THESE RIFLES? The Police; unknown people; miners; a third force?

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