Mine shooting: DA wants accountability

2012-08-21 18:21

Cape Town - It is time for difficult and painful questions about last week's Lonmin mine shooting in the North West, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Tuesday.

Speaking during a special debate in the National Assembly, she welcomed President Jacob Zuma's promise to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry into the tragedy at Marikana.

At least 34 people died and 78 were injured in a clash between police and striking miners on Thursday.

Mazibuko said the tragedy could have and should have been prevented.

"Its escalation speaks of a lack of top-level leadership and of ministerial accountability.

"The judicial commission must therefore be established immediately with precise terms of reference. It must not at any point be downgraded to an internal inquiry."

The commission should specifically establish who authorised the use of live ammunition on the striking workers, within the context of how the SA Police Service managed violent strikes.

"Whoever authorised the use of live ammunition must be held accountable."

It should also, among other things, be revealed on what, if any, intelligence the planning was conducted; and if national police commissioner Riah Phiyega exercised appropriate judgement and leadership.

"In most democracies, a crisis of this magnitude would have immediately precipitated the resignation of the [police] minister, and, in many cases, the fall of the government."

The Democratic Alliance was concerned that no one in the government seemed to be assuming political responsibility for the shooting.

"We need accountability now. The minister of police, the secretaries general of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, and the National Union of Mineworkers, and the chief executive officer of Lonmin should carefully consider their positions, and, in my view, offer their resignations. Their position is untenable."

The commission should uncover every factor and decision that led to the violence.

Its work had to be data-driven, and not subject to political interference, sentiment, or a misguided desire to make the findings appear more acceptable.

"The role of every actor, from the mineworker to the trade union leader, the police officer, to the board member of Lonmin, the responsible government minister, to the president himself, must face fair and impartial scrutiny," Mazibuko said.


Meanwhile, Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota said the shooting will leave indelible scars that will not quickly heal.

"The tragedy was preventable, if only proactive and even-handed measures had been implemented by all parties," he told the National Assembly.

Lekota said the judicial commission of inquiry announced last week should lay bare the whole truth, and that nothing less would do.

"The families of the two policemen and the two security guards who were killed, as well as those of the miners who lost loved ones, need to know the whole truth of what has really been happening," he said.

"The key question is how many miners were armed with guns requiring SA Police Service [SAPS] members to use semi-automatic rifles against them? We need to know this."

The shooting at Marikana was a dismal failure of leadership and of accountability on the part of the African National Congress. That was where the central focus should lie, Lekota said.

Inkatha Freedom Party spokesperson on police Velaphi Ndlovu said everyone involved in the tragedy was a victim, and that mine management should take the most blame.

It had failed to realise that workers wanted it to deal with issues that affected them every minute of the day, and had failed to fully engage workers.

"How dare the employer give an ultimatum to the workers to return to work when they are still in mourning, the injured in hospital and others awaiting trial?"

The police were at fault because they had been used by mine management to solve the mine's problems instead of protecting both sides.

"I hope that the workers have now learned that negotiation is the key to success," Ndlovu said.


Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the question in a situation such as Marikana was at what stage should maximum force be used?

"In my experience, the better the police force is trained, the less force is necessary to contain a difficult situation like this," he said.

No role-player could be singled out. All shared the guilt.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had erred in the way they conducted their power struggle.

Mulder claimed the employer had colluded with the established unions, like the NUM, to keep Amcu out and leave minority unions with no rights.

The police allowed the situation to develop into such an uncontrollable state, and union leaders incited violence.

Mulder said the government had failed to keep unions accountable and ensure they exercised their power without intimidation and without violence as a bargaining tool.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said events such as the Marikana shooting were here to stay, unless senior policing levels became more professional.

"Perhaps, it is time for this House to review the mechanism of civilian oversight in SAPS. Should we not confine civilian oversight to the office of the minister and let experienced police personnel run SAPS?"

Another area of concern was the proximity of certain trade unions to the ANC and the deployments of senior individuals to the private sector.

This had compromised the Lonmin mine workers.

"For example, just a few hours before the Marikana shoot-out, NUM, the police and Lonmin reportedly held a meeting to discuss the situation without involving Amcu," Holomisa said.

  • Citroes - 2012-08-21 18:28

    The DA should let this one go. The shooting was justified. Everyone is sick and tired of strikers destroying, burning, killing and murdering and in this case the strikers fired the first shot. There is clear video evidence. They got what they deserved. Go back to work, and get your asses into gear. If you want to place blame, place it on the unions.

  • kim.buren - 2012-08-21 18:29

    I have great respect for the DA, but please Lindiwe, shhhhhhhhhh. Don't lower yourself to the ANC

  • boltonbarry - 2012-08-21 18:34

    Lindiwe do not allow us to believe the "tea girl" iterations with these comments

  • john.barbarian.9 - 2012-08-21 18:36

    I want to see the face of Zwelinzima Vavi and COSATU accountable for Marikana Uprising.....or maybe IMPALA was different?

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-21 18:37

    Lets be real,if the anc were effeciant at running this country and stopprd having certain unions in their pockets,without a shred of control over them,this woulnt of happened. The unions use strikers as a tool to incite their own schemes. The anc has allowed unions to continue with the violent behaviour for so long now-its not a surprise,rather a guess of how bad the violence will be. Too late to cry now-you should of stopped these violent strikes ages ago!

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-21 18:40

    If this happens, it will be a major first for this Country, so, I wont hold my breath for it. It will probably be blamed on either hte mining Company or Apartheid.

      jackie.stone.501 - 2012-08-21 18:50

      Let me guess you must be a genius, could you give the powerball number at least and I guess the other five numbers.

  • jackie.stone.501 - 2012-08-21 18:47

    "Its escalation speaks of a lack of top-level leadership and of ministerial accountability..." Sounds like a cheap political scoring to me. What about the WC endless strikes or about gangs killings. Is that also lack of top-level leadership in the WC (pls Mazibuko walk the talk). I am sure a CEO of the company does not design system or capture data. And "Independent judicial commission" what is that? Is the independent independent? Maybe we must cross borders to find that one

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-21 18:49

    Have we not learned from all the other commissions and investigations? The underlying mindset is never addressed. This one will end the same, no one person/organisation to blame, insert new policy here. And then next week/month/year another horrific situation leaving people dead and even further divided. Marikana epitomises how every policy, process, law we have is totally meaningless in everyday people's lives. Until you can bridge that gap of comprehension, attitude and thinking and turn all these magical words into something tangible that people can relate to and see tangible benefit from, all these investigations are just a lot of bureaucratic busyness.

  • an.saint.5 - 2012-08-21 19:03

    Suppose I shouldn't be surprised since this would be their best opportunity to try and get the "hard labour" class behind them. I am disappointed.

  • CuriousObserver - 2012-08-21 19:08

    Wow.. so now you start realising that the DA is just a political party, not some bunch of gods who will do and say whatever you deem proper. Better late than never. I still recommend voting for the DA, but only because no party deserves to have such a big piece of the common cake as the ANC currently does. But please, be realistic - Zille, Mazibko, Kohler-Barnard and the rest are POLITICIANS, not some bloody ANGELS!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-21 19:26

      ANC ignores their own voters demands and court orders, what chance does the Opposition stand of getting it right?

  • mike.clery - 2012-08-21 19:26

    The politicians should just shut up and wait for the results of the commission. They're all just guessing.

      mike.clery - 2012-08-21 19:27

      And until then, STOP blaming/criticizing the police (directly and indirectly).

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-08-21 19:30

    The DA would retain much more support if they just said nothing.

  • rynoux.du.preez - 2012-08-21 19:33

    It just shows that the current goverment is incapable of governing basic departments like the police force. Maybe all of us must strike so the anc can step down and let another party take control?

  • JackTrend - 2012-08-21 19:47

    You are to blame. And people that share your ag shame attitude. These criminals attacked the police and the police defended themselves.

  • rowan.maulson - 2012-08-21 19:48

    I'm sorry but the DA in this regard must fek off. The police did the right thing in this regard, and what happened to those rioters, whilst tragic, was entirely their fault.

  • george.pito - 2012-08-21 20:04

    I am sorry to say the shooting was justified. Then the planning and the management of this incident not. SAPS and SITA issued tenders which gets cancelled the one after the other costing the industry millions. This could have provide them with the intelligence and situational awareness to make the right decsion. Sorry they were caught with a barbed wire and no information and were left without any command so they had to shoot. They simply rocked up there with a few vehicles, no information and the wrong equipment. There was more than enough time to withdraw but the police on the ground did not have the information. The DA are simply punting a political horse and there are more than enough skilled people in this country but no they appoint the wrong people. Even a kid playing video games were more competent than this. Besides this lets get the political parties to get to the root of the problem. The shooting was justified at that point in time but can we get the orders given and by who. With what orders did they police go in there. With all respect to all the political parties they dont know what they talking about and are only trying to get votes.

  • thetsomichael.majake - 2012-08-21 20:56

    sometime's people like's to talk but nothing we get in feuture,like now is only the politicians why?or they are looking for the support!they have to shutup and wait for the result of the commission then they can start talking lies to the people again,really....we have to leave this metter to the hand's of commission, then we can!!!!!!!

  • thetsomichael.majake - 2012-08-21 21:13

    Ohhhh!!!!my God it's DA,lindiweeee.please don't lower yourself to the ANC please just give yourself time to understand what is the metter,Don't talk on behalf of your party and you julius where are you coming from?you just wait something like this,And your at the forefront of this buddy why?

  • AdriaanD.duPlessis - 2012-08-21 22:06

    I would like to see what DA, ANC, FF Plus will do if they were in e position where the Police were when those miners attacked them with Guns, Panga's and Machetes. Would be interesting to see!

  • sean.murphy.165 - 2012-08-22 09:45

    The DA are calling for a lot of resignations when nobody has yet been found to be at fault. I beleive the shooting were justified. Does the DA think that it would have been better for the police to have been killed so that the lives of the violent mob of criminals could be spared. The DA is barking up the wrong tree and I am seriously losing respect for them.

      hengu.willemse - 2012-08-22 22:54

      i feel the same!

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