Who gave permission to kill? - Bizos

2012-10-22 18:47

Rustenburg - The judicial inquiry into the Marikana shootings must establish who told the police to use live ammunition on protesting miners, human rights lawyer George Bizos, said on Monday.

The conduct of the SA Police Service officers was "unique", he told the three-member judicial commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, North West.

"We are going to call in experts to prove that what the police did on 16 August is unheard of in the whole world. We are going to ask for permission to cross-examine those who gave [the] permission," he said.

"If you have 3 000 protesting people on one side, some of them armed, and you turn R-5s and R-6s on them, that is unique and historically that is incorrect."

Bizos is representing the Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation in the inquiry.

He said his team would present evidence to prove that the shootings on 16 August were acts of revenge by police officers, for the earlier deaths of their colleagues.

"Is it a matter of good luck or divine intervention that we have 34 protesters killed and not a single injury to a policeman?" asked Bizos.

"We have read many papers, maybe we have missed the part which says a police officer was scratched, never mind being shot, on August 16."


Acts of revenge would not solve the problems of the police, workers, and the country as a whole, Bizos said.

Statements claiming the authorisation to use live ammunition either came from national police commissioner Riah Phiyega or Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa needed to be examined.

"It may be necessary for all the people concerned in this to be interrogated. They [the police officers] may have been influenced by someone in a high authority - the 'shoot to kill' sentiment."

Bizos said it would have to be established why the forensic examination of the bodies found that most were shot in the back.

"Some of these people were shot whilst running away. Some were shot far from the place of the danger [a hill near the Nkaneng informal settlement].

"Who took that decision to shoot?" Bizos repeatedly asked.

Police have maintained they fired at the protesters as a last resort when the armed crowd charged at them.

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

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

Workers at the mine 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 another two security guards.

  • johan.jacobs.33821 - 2012-10-22 18:56

    Good question,judge.

      johan.jacobs.33821 - 2012-10-22 20:58

      reality Youve lost it,I told the judge,it's a good question.

  • johan.jacobs.33821 - 2012-10-22 18:59

    Good question ,judge.

      pieter.calitz - 2012-10-22 20:44

      Bizos is a lawyer, not a judge.

  • Michael - 2012-10-22 18:59

    Oom Bizoz, the question should be 'who gave permision to defend?'

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-22 19:06

    Why was nothing done when the 1st 10 were killed?

  • Billy - 2012-10-22 19:07

    its all on film. all this Bozo will do is try and twist the truth. its pretty clear to me what happened... the strikers killed people. 10 of them. the police responded accordingly. why is the invevstigation into the 10 people killed, not as important as this? this is a witch hunt.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-22 19:21

      When, ever has The Allliance addressed the underlying cause of anything? Had they addressed 1/1000th of the underlying problems of our country, we'd never have ended up with a Marikana in the 1st place. Had someone, anyone in The Alliance said or done anything after the 1st ten were killed. ETC. It's scapegoat time but the real truth we all know. The Alliance is ultimately responsible but only those very low down on the totem pole will pay the price

  • phillip.marchant.52 - 2012-10-22 19:08

    It's not a question of revenge of the police, Georgie - someone who called for the live ammo was told by someone very high up to send a very clear message that violent illegal striking is fine, as long as it's not against ANC money.

  • dragonfire47 - 2012-10-22 19:12

    Typical, our kids arnt safe in school or on there way to school or college, our farmers arnt safe to do a honests day work that puts food on our table, we cannot walk in the streets without getting mugged or worse but all bizos is worried about is a bunch off hooligans that attacked the police, human rights my foot more likely a criminal rights lawyer

      simon.selahla - 2012-10-22 19:23

      100% agree with you,law abiding citizen and victims of crimes have less rights, When comparing to those of criminals in this country.

      roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-10-22 20:15

      I agree, where is Bizos with his human rights when it comes to the genocide being done to SA farmers????

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-10-22 19:13

    Human life in SA has become like the lives of rhinos killed every day or ants that we walk over! An answer should come from the two identified Senior members of the National Assembly!

  • Phindile Manganyi - 2012-10-22 19:16

    its about time Bizo,is the future...finally someone wants answers to the right questions

      rodney.bevan.58 - 2012-10-22 19:26

      Wrong on all counts. The questions which should be asked, are why are the deaths of the original 10 people not being investigated. Why did the strikers feel it necessary to arm themselves, why did they decide to to on an illegal strike, why did they insist on remaining where they were when they had already been told by the police to move? Who gave the order to attack the police? Who was the witchdoctor who told these strikers that the muti would protect them? What kind of idiot attacks a bunch of fully armed cops carrying only a panga? Ask the ANC mandarins why the strikers are angry with their own union, is Ramaphosa the labour broker who is taking at least 50% of the miners wages? Those are the questions which need to be asked, never mind which cop fired first, video evidence plainly shows the strikers attacked first.

  • aroka.murombe - 2012-10-22 19:16


  • john.cryink - 2012-10-22 19:16

    Maybe with another strike we take a 1000 lawyers arm them with a law book and instuct them to stop thousands of strikers that are armed from fire arms to traditional weapons

  • renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-10-22 19:18

    The strikers was armed with dangerous weapons that could have caused serious injury or death. If some strikers was shot in the back it was because they turned and fled the moment the police opened fire. Is expected of the police to wait to be injured/killed before they may retaliate? It is easy for someone that was not stormed by the mob to say after the incident that the police should have done this or that.

  • sfortmann1 - 2012-10-22 19:20

    SA is becoming like America, sue everyone for everything, so what, they attacked the police after numerous warnings, yes the police used live rounds, they were protecting their lives, if they used rubber bullets, they headline would be \Police assault Striking Miners!\ Its a load of bull, then if they don't do anything the police that were there doing their job would have been killed, I say leave rubber bullets for crowd control, the min someone in the crowd brings a weapon, a shambok, golf club, panga, what ever it is, the police should be authorised to use live rounds, maybe then they will realise that you can't run around, trying to attack the police, burning trucks, destroying property!

  • joshua.sematla - 2012-10-22 19:25

    ANC government..

  • The4thHorsemen - 2012-10-22 19:27

    What is the purpose of having anyone Police these so called peaceful protests! Last week another Policeman was hacked and seriously injured in a similar incident due to the fact that the Police's hands have been metaphorically chopped of! I personally feel that they should withdraw all the Police that has been deployed and utilize them to fight crime. They are in any case not allowed to do anything but stand around!

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2012-10-22 19:31

    Who gave permission to kill (mineworkers in marikana ? George Bizos

  • Jason - 2012-10-22 19:40

    Probably all fair questions, but I am particularly intersted in finding out what Mr. Bizos believes the Police should have done differently. It's easy to analyse and criticise after the fact.

  • Kalari - 2012-10-22 19:47

    Those miners carried weapons, killed and burned alive people days before. They took muti to "protect them against police bullets. The video I saw show that a bunch of those miners stormed the police to attack them with the intend to kill them. Those police did not attack and simply defended themselves. If I were in charge of that operation I would take the situation in consideration , issue the police with live ammo and told them to defend their lives if the situation require. Now what is wrong with that. We are living in a mad country. The shooting in the back of people running away is another story. Shame Bizos.

      pridejubilee.chavururawegona - 2012-10-22 20:21

      poloce were suppozd to do their jobs not to kill i dont know why they as militaries

      The4thHorsemen - 2012-10-22 22:22

      Fortunately they did their job.... Stay alive 1st arrest 2nd. What should they have done!? Might want to check the Constitution and the right to life section. I think it applies to the Police as well dead Cops are useless and it is a lot of waisted money that is used for training them. That would be tax money if you did not know that, it might have been used to build a RDP house or even a few of them. If the money was not stolen by contractors.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-10-22 19:48

    Bizos and lawyers (and the politicians) should be tasked with keeping the order. Send them. Let's see how they do it. With their collar and tie and court attire facing the menacing sharp and long reaching traditioal weapons bearing down on them. The merits of the dispute with the mine aside, we saw the video material. The police did not plan the attack on themselves. We also know about the prior muti practices to thwart live ammunition fired by the police. The rabbit killing incident and the interpretation placed on it by the stgrikers afterwards. The same lawyers and politicians so brave out of harm's way (for now only!) must realize that it is only the police that forms and maintains some form of protection for them. One must suspect that they have already alienated many police officers. But let them go on to discredit the actions of the police in the present instance. They will only have themselves to blame when no policeman is prepared to take the risk to protect the big wigs. Bizos mentally lives in a bygone period. And for once one may agree with the police and not damn/blame them IF revenge and bitterness indeed did mix with the requirement to defend themselves against the attack so clearly aimed at killing/maiming the police.

  • george.pito - 2012-10-22 19:49

    Should Bizos not ask who gave the instruction to arm with pangas etc and strike. Who gave instructions to attack the police. Poor sod it is people like him that makes a mess of this contry. Nowhere in the world are criminals protected like this. Historically and humanly correct if you attack the police dont obey any rules and are armed in thousands are not heard off except in this lawless country.

  • craig.s.pepper - 2012-10-22 19:52

    Hmmm.... The 3000 bloodthirsty "bulletproof" protesters gave them permission!.... chop!

  • pierre.joubert.338 - 2012-10-22 20:02

    What is this 'judicial inquiry' costing the country?? Why is it that criminals always seem to get the upper hand in SA??? The government does not seem to care for the lives lost prior to this incident. You want to be an idiot and storm police with a panga, firearm and spear, you must pay the price. If an inquiry is to be held it should be to find out who was behind the violent strike.

  • punungwe - 2012-10-22 20:07

    Police have standing authority to use lethal force if necessary. They always carry guns with live ammunition. I don't think in this case the judgement, even if it was of individual policemen on the scene, to use live ammunition was misplaced. This question is a no brainer.

      landelanintamo - 2012-10-22 20:38

      Rules of war boet u dnt charge someone who is unarmed.\r\nAcording the rules of war police a guilty big tym......

      pieter.calitz - 2012-10-22 20:53

      @landelanintamo - Unarmed, yeah right - 2 pistols, 4000 pangas and knobkieries

      guyp1 - 2012-10-23 13:12

      @ landelanintamo Not to mention it was the MINERS that charged, not the police. The police stood their ground, warned the miners SEVERAL times and yet the MINERS still charged the police with weapons, some even with firearms. I'd love to know how the police are guilty when fair warning was given. were they supposed to let the attackers run at them and just stand while they get hacked and clubbed to death by the miners?

  • landelanintamo - 2012-10-22 20:08

    We dnt habe a police service in our country we have police force that is being millitaraise.for instance the TRT groupe the so called amabaret they a like gangsters of witch most of them a fomer msds in the millitary.those guys where the one who where triger happy at marikana.hw the hell on earth do u shoot someone at the back .........coward'''''police force'''''

      Gatvol Griet - 2012-10-22 20:28

      What language is this?

      themba.n.maluleke - 2012-10-22 20:34

      I would be delighted if the judiciary Of inquiry in this Marikana case can also establish ppl who instructed miner's to carry knobkerries, pangas,guns and sticks and Please let Us Know under which circumstances do Police Officer's have authority to Use Ammunition?..

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-10-22 20:15

    To repeat and state the obvious, since when do you need permission to protect yourself and others against a deadly attack? Let's get real! Let the collar and tie brigade with their court attire take over the leg work. Reverse the roles. The police can then later at their leisure hold enquiries into the conduct of the aforesaid and decide which of them should be locked up.

  • tiaan.truter - 2012-10-22 20:19

    omg this George Bizos is such an idiot...I mean really now.Why dnt I give you a gun and get a few of my friends give all of them pangas and swords and sh*t and run towards you and see if you will shoot.Rubber bullets and teargas clearly didnt help against these people.Stop thinking like a bloody bread man.Stupid lawyer,did you buy your certificate on eBay and your common sense at a 2nd hand store ?

      Kusta Noholoza - 2012-10-22 20:57

      The fact that you have the gall to address a lawyer, respected in this country and abroad, the way you just did, probably gives us an insight into the person you are. Anyway, try reading the article again, you might just see the part about these people being shot in the back and far away from where the massacre started.

      dumisani.makhaye.1 - 2012-10-23 10:18

      Only if you knew this man you wouldn't say what you are saying. Besides these were opening statements (if you know what I mean) the evidence is yet to be led to get to the bottom of all this. Just follow the proceedings and you will soon find out the facts.

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-10-22 20:19

    Does Bizos 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.

      msimelelo.m - 2012-10-22 20:26

      So teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets. Gone are those, let's just light em up with real rounds. \r\nIs that what your trying to say?

      John - 2012-10-22 20:29

      BULL**** get your head out of your rectum!!!!

      pieter.calitz - 2012-10-22 20:59

      @msimelelo.m What he is trying to say is. Teargas, stun grenades and rubber bullets work for unarmed crowds. A crowd armed with 2 pistols, 4000 pangas and knobkieries and outnumbering the police 10 to 1 is as completely different ballgame.

      guyp1 - 2012-10-23 13:19

      I heard that rubber bullets and teargas were initially used, but turned out ineffective due to the number or rioters and their persistence. One thing people need to think about is WHY THE HELL NEARLY 50% OF THE STRIKING IDIOTS WERE NOT EVEN EMPLOYEES OF THE DAMN MINE, but merely rampant idiots who joined the strike for no apparent reason.

  • simon.mwando - 2012-10-22 20:27

    apparently age is catching up with you Bizo. U don't need permission to shoot the criminals, otherwise they will shoot you first!

  • msimelelo.m - 2012-10-22 20:32

    I hope Juju's trial does not distract the public from this trial. We need to listen openly with the court proceedings. The real story will come out just like on 3rd degree...

  • kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-10-22 20:33

    I rest my case, this Bizos guy is still having a grudge against apartheid cops, who must wait for permission for self defence, mayb u r getting too old

      dumisani.makhaye.1 - 2012-10-23 10:25

      In your books I guess it is self defence to shoot a person at the back when he is posing no danger whatsoever to you. A piece of advise go to your nearest library and read any literature on Criminal Law in South Africa on the subject of private defence or you can just google it in order to have a clear understanding of the subject.

      guyp1 - 2012-10-23 13:24

      those idiots that got hit were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If they didn't heed the warning of the police to stand down and decided to stay behind those that charged at the police with weapons, and just so happened to be in the line of fire between police and rioters, it's their fault. What of those that weren't hit? Oooohh, yes, THEY MOVED THE HELL AWAY WHEN THEY SAW WEAPONS AIMED THEIR WAY, not stay in harms way.

  • mmataladi - 2012-10-22 21:07


      mshiniboys - 2012-10-23 08:36

      umshini wami.

  • Mohaola - 2012-10-22 21:51

    Cele plz come back to finish this plan of amabarete thing cos nathi boy can't do it .how can you cotrol nor disperse 3000 striking workers with R5's and R4's ,this poor worker tried to avoid any miscoduct or damage to mine property by using nearby intaba but (amabarete)thugs went there to kill them...

  • Notrax123 - 2012-10-22 22:12

    Quote: "He said his team would present evidence to prove that the shootings on 16 August were acts of revenge by police officers, for the earlier deaths of their colleagues. Is there any law preventing a policeman using live ammunition to prevent the taking of another life, what has happend to the word "perpetator" ~ commits, an illegal, criminal, or evil act? 5 police officers shot, of them 4 were killed - in one week in the Western Cape - many would still be alive if they did not first have to think of the Bizos of this world.

      dumisani.makhaye.1 - 2012-10-23 11:31

      Definition of PRIVATE DEFENCE - " Aperson acts on private defence, and her act is therefore lawful, if she uses force to repel an ulawful attack which has commenced, or is imminently threatening, upon her or somebody else's life, bodily integrity, property or other interest which deserves to be protected, provided the defensive act is necesary to protect the interest threatened, is directed against the attacker, and is reasonably proportionate to attack" CR Snyman Criminal Law, Fifth Edition at page 103. Te question then is, was the action of the police reasonably proportionate to the attack? Bearing in mind that some of the people were shot at the back.

  • Mzwamadoda Fuzani - 2012-10-22 22:30

    @Kusta: ...10 ppl were killed,(including) 2 cops nd 2 securities. 6 are part of the ten,not invisible nor 4gten. cumon man...!

  • mahomed.gaffoor - 2012-10-22 22:51

    for me looking from the outside, police r to protect and serve the people,in this case the acted like the wild west , shoot to kill ,what a shame on the south african police and the autority (gansters)to kill humans especially from the backs (Cowards).

  • sachasea - 2012-10-22 22:52

    The president should have been the one to authorise it. Lethal force of this nature should only be authorised by the current president of the country. Zuma claims he did not know about Marikana. How the heck is that possible when it had been going on for days and was splashed on the TV news and in the papers?!!! My hunch is that he gave permission to shoot and that Vavi knew full well about it, because they wanted to cut these rival unions down to size and stop the mutiny.

  • mshiniboys - 2012-10-23 08:34

    Mr Bizos you will go down in history as the only white person who made sense on news 24 .Maybe it is because you were lucky to have parents who did not have time to brainwash you into hating black people.I dont want to be liked by white people but I like you.

      guyp1 - 2012-10-23 13:27

      Did you read this article and see the actual shooting on the news, or just skim through this load of rubbish and go with the flow?

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-10-23 08:50

    now that Bizos is asking all the right questions, i would love to hear both Commisioner and Minister's version in this matter, she (commisioner) went out prematurely after the incident and defended the action of the police saying it was self defence without checking the facts and the minister too.Its high time that all Zuma's concubines to go down with him

  • darryl.maze.5 - 2012-10-23 10:09

    No matter what our police do to protect us the law turns on them. These miners had already savagaly and barbaracly hacked and slaughtered two policemen. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH U MR BIZOS!!!!!! First question the mining SAVAGES. They gathered to attack, fired the first shot at the police and the police opened fired as they were under threat.

  • guyp1 - 2012-10-23 13:36

    Instead of questioning police who defended themselves from raging rioters, this Mr. Bizos needs to question why the hell those miners went on strike for ridiculous amounts of money, who said that that kind of salary would be a good reason to strike for when they are unskilled labourers and why the HELL those idiots haven't been arrested or sent home (as about half of them weren't even employees). Last time I checked rioting and violence was against the law. I don't care whether you were employed or not, or suffered a loss of a loved one, if you rioted there, and took part in the violent AND ILLEGAL strike, YOU MUST BE ARRESTED! One more question this Mr. Bizos must ask: Why was it OK for Malema to randomly go and incite more violence and set higher demands, not to mention trying to get people who were mourning the lost one to VOTE (anyone see something wrong here?) for a different president. That was not the damn time to be pushing your stupid ideas out on already crazy and upset people.

      guyp1 - 2012-10-23 13:38

      I say "this Mr. Bizos" because I have absolutely no respect for someone who sees such a situation as a money making opportunity.

  • jeremy.acton - 2012-10-23 15:17

    The murders at the second koppie were just that: MURDER. May all the truth come out and justice be done, even if a whole bunch of police and big-wigs get jailed for what happened. The SAP actions that were 'allowed' to be televised only tell a fraction of the story. The rot in this matter is everywhere and the miners were the victims, whether armed or not.

  • al.bru.3 - 2012-10-24 08:09

    i blame the government, as the police have not kept the peace properly since 2001, the law is lame and as a result there is no respect for the police. it will still take a'heavy hand' to re-establish law and order in this country, to get rid of the rot from the top down. But... but, I think its too late.

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