Zuma is wrong, Farlam did not clear Mthethwa – expert

2015-06-27 10:22
Nathi Mthethwa (File, Beeld)

Nathi Mthethwa (File, Beeld)

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President Jacob Zuma had “misrepresented” the Farlam Commission report by claiming that the former police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, had played no role in decisions leading to the Marikana massacre. 

In fact, the report had an “open finding” relating to Mthethwa, said crime and policing research expert David Bruce. 

“It is not true to say that Mthethwa played no role. The Farlam report has not let him off the hook. What it does say is that the evidence is not available.” 

In his summary of the Farlam report, Zuma said the commission had found “that the executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option” if the strikers did not lay down their arms. This decision is what led to the deaths of 34 people on August 16 2012. 

But in the section on the former police minister, the Commission concludes that it was “unable … to find positively in Minister Mthethwa’s favour”. 

It finds that Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega had been “distinctly evasive and unhelpful” during attempts to get her to answer questions about the role the Minister played. 

The logical inference from this was that she was doing so to protect the minister, said Bruce. 
According to the report, evidence leaders also made “energetic but unsuccessful efforts” to obtain the original audio recording – on a memory stick – of what was said at the extraordinary National Management Forum meeting on August 15. 

The commission also found that the failure of those who attended the meeting to explain the decision to implement the tactical option indicated that they were hiding something. “This inference is fortified … by the evidence relating to the missing memory stick,” said the report. 

Bruce also pointed out that the case against Mthethwa was not argued properly in front of the commission due to the “enthusiasm about going for Cyril Ramaphosa”. “A vast amount of energy was expended on detailing what was alleged to be the basis for a case against Ramaphosa,” he said. 

Overall, the report was “balanced and fair”, said Bruce. It had been “robust and unforgiving” about the unions’ and strikers’ involvement in violence and intimidation and carrying of arms. “The findings are very damning in relation to the police and have important implications in relation to the principles governing the use of force.” 

Bruce said it was a concern that it had taken months for Zuma to put together a “poor summary of the report” without indicating that he had applied his mind to any of the issues. “Accountability needs to be put into operation, but it seems there is no urgency.” 

Bruce’s recommendations on policing were raised in the commission and he also assisted the Council for the

Advancement of the SA Constitution with its submission.

Read more on:    nathi mthethwa  |  marikana  |  marikana inquiry

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