Phiyega condoned miner deaths - DA

2012-08-20 20:31

Johannesburg - National police chief Riah Phiyega implicitly condoned the deaths at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Monday.

"On the same day that President [Jacob] Zuma declared a week of national mourning, Phiyega said that police officers should not be sorry for the deaths of 34 protesters at Marikana," Kohler Barnard said in a statement.

"This shows a gross lack of empathy in a time when SA Police Service members need a leader with an iron-clad moral compass to assist them to make sense of this tragedy."

On Thursday, 34 people were killed when the police opened fire on striking workers, some of them armed, when trying to disperse them after a week of violent protests.

Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in violence at the mine in the week before.

The police ministry said 78 people were injured and 259 arrested during Thursday's shooting.

Kohler Barnard said Phiyega's excusing the police's behaviour could not be tolerated in a time when tensions were high.

"Although it has yet to be determined whether the police acted unlawfully or in self-defence, stating that the police should not be sorry is preposterous," she said.

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) has welcomed the commission of inquiry into the shooting.

"It is a matter of great concern that the situation was allowed to develop in the manner it did and culminated into a bloody confrontation between the strikers and the police," it said on Monday.

"Nadel hopes that the commission will examine the whole incident and that whoever may be found culpable for any wrong-doing, especially the deaths that took place, will face the consequences that meet their culpability."

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

However, according to trade union Solidarity's deputy general secretary Gideon du Plessis, there was a misconception that the dispute mainly revolved around underpaid rock drill operators, who earn R4 000 a month.

"It is clear that many of the protesting workers were not aggrieved rock drill operators, but that opportunists exploited the strike. This resulted in crime," he said.

"The protesters' violent behaviour, the brutal murders of innocent people and the use of witch doctors and traditional murder weapons rather indicate a political motivation and opportunistic positioning instead of an attempt to negotiate a solution."

Du Plessis said the adjusted total cost package of a Lonmin rock drill operator was about R10 500 a month, excluding bonuses.

African National Congress Chief Whip in Parliament Mathole Motshekga has held talks with the leadership of the National Interfaith Council of SA.

"We are extremely pained that in our young democracy, which is still coming to terms with our traumatic past, such a violent and bloody battle escalated to the level that it did and left such destruction in its wake," he said.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-08-20 20:41

    Listen DA Dianne Kohler Barnard: Let's not lose our perspective. You are losing it. We saw the visuals and are quite capable of making up our own minds about the events. Next time you and the other smartly dressed politicians go there and show us how you should act in the face of an armed attack on you.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-08-20 22:57

      The Police Commissioner is a STAR !

      peterdonb - 2012-08-21 08:48

      We all know that incidents like this provides a perfect opportunity for political posturing, being so close to Mangaung and all, but really, I would have though that the DA would rather claim the moral high ground after we all saw the video-footage of the police acting in self-defence? Come-on, does it need to jump up and bite your squarely on the nose before you admit the truth? Blaming the National Commissioner for standing with her police men that went through hell in the past two weeks, and that at the burial of one of them that was brutally murdered? Really? I mean, really? That is scraping the barrel! Dianne, why don't you safe some face and do the honourable thing? Why not support the police men that had to defend themselves and then organise a vigil for the two cops that were hacked to death on the 10th?

      nrgx.nrg - 2012-08-21 12:35

      Gosh, never thought Id disagree with the DA, but in this instance I am totally behind Phiyega. Everybody seems to be jumping on the "massacre" bandwagon only for POLITICAL POINTS, have you all forgotten that the police were threatened, shot at, and even killed first? The cross-hairs should be on the ancyl and the unions, THEY are the ones that have blood on their hands!

      JManAtheoi - 2012-08-21 12:41

      Exactly. What is REALLY sickening to me is how all these so-called 'do-gooders' try and politicize this event for their own twisted benefits.

  • reagan.titus.5 - 2012-08-20 20:49

    I always maintained since last week as a DA member the party should'nt even be involve in this story@Diane pls stay the hell away from marikana and the DA should abstain from commenting further period!!!!!!!!!!

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-20 22:15

      CHEAP POLITICS Thought the DA had more sense in them?

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-08-20 23:37

      If you do not understand party politics refrain from advertising your ignorance in public. The DA with or without you as a member is the official opposition in parliament, it is their duty in terms of the constitution to hold the governing party to account for its failings, and this is a major failing.

      mofstok - 2012-08-21 06:31

      I disagree with you kevin: party politics like this will lose them voters.

      gerald.nchabeleng - 2012-08-21 07:06

      @ mofstok, True politics should be about the benefit of society and not about seeking voters. But the DA though stand a chance to gain more than they will lose with this stance. But the most striking thing here is lack of empathy displayed by news24 bloggers. Rather than applaud this 'tough crackdown' why is no one here questioning the state of the Police's readiness and ability to manage crowds and riots. How many riot shiels did you see out there, proper gas masks, bullet vests, did you see their formation, as for tactics they were generally uninspiring. And to think they had almost a week to prepare for this...oh boy

      mofstok - 2012-08-21 07:12

      I agree Gerald, but considering the state of our policeforce I am heartened that they weren't all hacked to death by the 3000 strikers. Unfotunately if the socio-economic problems were faced 20 years ago by the ruling party, we would not even have had the strike in the first place. I firmly believe the SAPS did all that they could, and I applaud their bravery for a change. That's just my opinion anyway.

      boltonbarry - 2012-08-21 07:31

      I have empathy for the 10 people that was brutally hacked and killed by these merciless thugs and for the families of the miners that now have lost bread winners. I don't give a hoot for the miners who openly stormed a police line shooting at them.

      arne.verhoef - 2012-08-21 07:31

      How did they fail Kevin? She even took full responsibility for the actions of her force. You are clearly an ignorant man, at the very most a clever fool

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-08-20 20:50

    Diane juju barnard...

      vincent.surics - 2012-08-20 22:13

      Well said........that is exactly what she is. Trying to score political points and in the process embarrasing her support base.

  • thebe.tau - 2012-08-20 20:50

    I believe the police were cornered and had little options, but Phiyegas choice of words were not wise and that is something she is gonna have to learn, I thought she was good with PR, but ah well.

      mofstok - 2012-08-20 20:59

      She is there for her officers, and that is really important.

  • paul.rainierpope - 2012-08-20 20:58

    Majority of comments reflect the same attitude. Amazing, If the ANC is on one side the DA on principle will find reason to oppose. Maybe by the next election date a real political party with the country interest at heart will have been formed and we can support them. If DB is reported correctly, (and for that matter Phiyega) then best she rather go join a debating society where is is appropriate to argue against every view regardless of the merits!

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-08-20 20:59

    Oo no! Will she survive?

  • Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-08-20 20:59

    Politicians trying to score some cheap points,even Malema is taking advantage.

  • mike.clery - 2012-08-20 20:59

    Ms Kohler Barnard needs to widen her social circle. She may just be shooting herself (and her party) in the foot with these comments.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-08-20 21:02

    And so the DA also climbs on the opportunistic bandwagon trying to score some cheap political points! Anybody in their right mind knows that the SAP did what they had to do and the DA just sinks further in the mud that they are trying to throw at others!

  • Amanda - 2012-08-20 21:03

    Oh PLEASE GET REAL Kohler Barnard. We ALL saw the visuals. Is the DA now trying to score brownie points out of this ??? I wont be voting for the DA in the next elections. How hypocritical can you be. You want the police to maintain law and order but you actually dont support them. Im with the Minister of Police on this one - all the way.

  • Khetha Hlophe - 2012-08-20 21:04

    Leaders must learn to use some words properly that is what drowned Malema.No matter how correct you are,if you use words inappropriately you are doomed.

      mofstok - 2012-08-20 21:08

      Just for clarification, is your post referring to Dianne Kohler Barnard or Riah Phiyega? Or both? Thanks!

  • cherri.pye.5 - 2012-08-20 21:08

    Oh ffs! Are you trying to lose voters for the DA, Ms Kohler-Barnard? Stop trying to make some political mileage out of this.

      gerhard.muller.988 - 2012-08-20 22:06

      She's lost them already. Godzilla, best you tighten that ones leash very fast. Or marry her off to Zuma.

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-08-20 23:50

      So you will vote for who? ACDP, Inkatha, NDP, Azapo, Cope, oh I know the Freedom Front, who would then stop toenadering with the ANC to improve Afrikaner rights because a bunch of headless chickens think that the disgusting display of police ineptitude at Marikana was okay. How bloody pathetic.

      mofstok - 2012-08-21 06:32

      kevin, you are an idiot.

  • arne.verhoef - 2012-08-20 21:09

    Im with Phiyega on this, I would expect a DA government lead police force to be able to respond with the same swift force against illegal, aggressive, armed protesters

      gert.c.mostert - 2012-08-21 09:33

      Yes Arne, but then again, I suspect a DA lead police force would have some training, and there would have been more deaths on the illegal strikers side and none on the police force side...??

  • laguerenne.vanzyl - 2012-08-20 21:14

    I am disappointed in the DA that they do not stand for law and order! This is an illegal strike and the police was threatened. After all, two policeman were killed. Law breakers should take what is coming to them. It surprised me that the South African Police took such a firm stance. Perhaps there is still hope for the country

  • justin.massyn - 2012-08-20 21:14

    Oh shut up will you Dianne. At least this lady has the balls to stand by her team. Unlike the vast majority of ANC prats. Go and implement one of those great plans you guys keep talking about.

  • shaylene.stenger - 2012-08-20 21:18

    I don't know who is worse? Malema? Or Barnard?

  • - 2012-08-20 21:19

    Ag please man... you complain when the cops don't do their jobs.. now they do their jobs and guess what?? YOU COMPLAIN YET AGAIN... The protection of innocent live is pivotal. and having 4000 striking workers storm just under 400 cops?? What the hell would you have done??

  • themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-20 21:22

    Shut up Kohler-Barnard! I wonder what you would have said had those heavily armed thugs in fact become invisible as their nyanga had said to them and had they been able to hack all the police officers to death with their pangas and spears

      mofstok - 2012-08-20 21:23

      Yup, Diane has lost the plot here.

  • brian.dixon.790 - 2012-08-20 21:23

    m/s Barnard, you are tilting at windmills. Did you see the presentation of all the accumulated media cameras at the event? There were all sorts of weapons on show including guns and the Police Commissioner had to protect her poorly trained officers. She is inexperienced and the police looked like rabbits in headlights but they could not be exposed to the potential slaughter that could have descended on this well out-numbered police contingent. Cheap political points.

  • randall.j.coetzee - 2012-08-20 21:25

    Vrot move DA... Nogali nice om te doen wat julle nou try omi ANC te attack? Moeti soos hulle praati,julle isi.

      arne.verhoef - 2012-08-20 21:40

      Ek stem heeltemal!

  • madoda.monamudi - 2012-08-20 21:26

    DA must just closed they big mouth because this is Black to Black battle for Economic Freedom and Nationalization of this mines, so shut up DA.

      gerhard.muller.988 - 2012-08-20 22:12

      Madoda, you are right, the DA must stay out of this battle. This is a Black on Black battle for Economic freedom. The whites must stay out of this. We need more Aurora mines. If all of the SA mines are managed by companies like Aurora, you will have Economic Freedom in your lifetime!

      Desilusionada - 2012-08-20 22:18

      @Gerhard A bloody short lifetime it will also be, before they starve...

      Johan De Beer - 2012-08-20 22:36

      Madoda, the DA must shut up on this one because they are talking crap here, but not due to your racist little reason. Gerhard, well said!

  • leviy - 2012-08-20 21:27

    its times like this i remember MR Tony Leon speaking of true leadership>>

  • JackTrend - 2012-08-20 21:28

    quiet Diana, you do not have a clue

  • jco.vanrooyen - 2012-08-20 21:31

    This is more serious than what happened in Sharpville many years ago! History repeats itself, may the whole world see with what the so-called "regime" of old was replaced with!May the world take notice of this!

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-20 21:48

      Ag k***k man! The marchers in the case of Sharpeville carried which dangerous weapons? Dompasses? The world is not going to notice sh***t. Have some cheese with your whining Meneertjie :)

      mofstok - 2012-08-20 21:51

      Haha themba!

      Johan De Beer - 2012-08-20 22:33


      helio.paulo.7 - 2012-08-21 06:39

      Really Dude there should be no comparison between this and Sharpeville,totally different causes, one was for freedom, the other was tainted with greed...very different indeed

  • njdejager - 2012-08-20 21:37

    I give up now. Do not know who to vote for anymore. DA and ANC in now evenly f*&k up. *smh*

  • bfvillet - 2012-08-20 21:42

    geez lady di last week you tried to join the etolls court case now this it is not often that i agree with commentators here but the politicians in SA are an embarrasment and failing to represent the people who elected them. new politicians please

  • marcdefl - 2012-08-20 21:42

    Di K Barnard your names apt for a woman your a real Dik. Scoring cheapo political points makes it hard to vote for the DA no matter how bad the ANC are.

  • thozi - 2012-08-20 21:44

    Ms Dianne Kohler Barnard, you have it wrong and it reduces you to cheap politicking. If you were a police member, and after two of your colleagues had already been lynched by an unruly mob some days earlier, would you still have opted to use some water and sponges to control the muti-agitated mob rushing at you with traditional weapons and hand-guns? This is no time for cheap political scoring - the lives of people have been lost and their families are suffering. We need to search for lasting solutions to avoid repetition of such, not being opportunistic in the face of such tragedy. Do not sink to Malema's level - you can do better.

  • ditoare.gypsy - 2012-08-20 21:47

    Phiyega and Barnard do not talk when its that time of the month coz you will really mess some people heads.

  • Dikotsi Ramakhera Petrus - 2012-08-20 22:28

    aaaaag DA, cummon! Sometimes u guys should learn, WHEN, NOT to say anything!

  • Dikotsi Ramakhera Petrus - 2012-08-20 22:30

    aaaaag DA, cummon guys! Sometimes u guys should learn, WHEN, NOT to say anything!

  • Johan De Beer - 2012-08-20 22:32

    Come off it, DA. Really, we support Riya on this one!

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-08-20 23:24

    The DA is correct. There can be no time that the police should not be sorry for the death of someone that is killed due to any action by the police, be it self defense or any other way. That is like saying there is no need to be human, it is like saying police must behave like machines without feeling and with out humanity. I can't believe the remarks here by some who feel it is okay for the police not to be sorry for the deaths of the workers at Lonmin. We all need to be sorry, every single one of us. What are we becoming with our skewed remarks and fear of been involved, what is wrong with you lot? DA get off your asses and have your say. Stuff the few poop in the brooks members here and get in the fray, or are you 'whoozies'. You are the opposition in South Africa get up and get right in there and do not step down and demand that the ANC alliance government appoint an independent judicial inquiry and throw your toys out of the cot and make a noise. Those saying otherwise, go tend to your children, this is politics and these were South Africans that were killed. We are rolling down a road to full dictatorship while people run scared of been perceived to be playing cheep politics, the DA must at least announce a party statement and policy on where they stand on the issue, and don't just follow our useless president and say you condemn the killings (what an &&%%@hole). Don't try and correct the ANC/disaster machine, defeat them! Way to go Dianne!!!

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-08-21 00:05

      I do not agree with much that you write. I do think that you express yourself well but I agree that the DA and any other politcal party in this country has the duty to expose the gross misuse of the police, who are ill equipped, badly lead, poorly managed and not trained to deal with a situation such as this. We should regret the death of any South African especially when it is due to the political and managerial incompetence in the SAP.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-21 05:31

      I pity you because thugs kill and rob some of us daily without a tinge of remorse because they seem to believe we deserve to die and they deserve what they violently rob us of, even if it`s a cellphone. Yeah, let`s allow them to do as they please and just shake our heads and feel sorry for them. You must be from another planet

      mofstok - 2012-08-21 07:06

      I am with themba on this one. For once the police have taken a stand against public violence, and now we must feel sorry? Not going to happen.

      Johan De Beer - 2012-08-21 07:28

      I'm with Themba. It is high time for SAPS to start acting decisively and firmly against thugs. This way we as a society could be rid of all these violent illegal protests, intimidation and anarchy.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-21 08:24

      @ Glen, in a normal country where order, peace & respect prevail, I would say you are right, but what we have here is a sensitive & volatile situation, brought about by an ineffective Government, lack of leadership, aggressive labour, popularists, union turf wars & poor living\working condition (poverty), if there was ever a time for the DA to keep a low profile it would be now, because as much as I hate to admit it, we now need the ANC Government stabilise the situation & bring order. It is imperative that NUM remains relevant & we should support the existing structures to ensure that total chaos is not allowed to develop. No matter what negligence ANC & NUM are guilty of, they are currently the main players & AMCU should not be allowed to destabilise the biggest industry in the economy, mining comprises 20% of GDP. solutions should be sought within the current structures, we cant has a free for all where unions & miners become warmongers, the state must retain control.

  • buti.Bambo - 2012-08-20 23:28

    Police acted unlawfully. Police training system shoul be revisited n reviews as this police are incompetent

      kevin.watson.7906 - 2012-08-21 00:07

      At last an intelligent thinking South African. It is a pity there are not more such as yourself.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-21 07:12

      As the miners who were armed to teeth approached the Police crouching like predators about to pounce on their prey, the Police should have felt sorry for them, run towards them with open arms, hugged and kissed them as the miners plunged their spears and pangas into their hearts. Have your heads examined guys, you seem to have lost your minds!!

  • tersssia.b - 2012-08-21 01:03

    Oh please, get real!

  • daniel.salomon.752 - 2012-08-21 05:50

    What would you people say if the police did not open fire and there where 34 dead cops and not 34 dead miners? Chances are you would say that the Police are spineless, cowards who don't know how to react to a charging crowd of protesters acting like Viking bezerkers, wielding weapons ranging from pangas to firearms and should have shot them to save themselves. The sad reality is that the Police had to do what needed to be done, in the perfect world rubber rounds, tear gas, water cannon and negotiation should have stopped this before it happened, but it didn't. Now we are sitting with one of our Nation's worst protest action violence since the years of Sharpeville and the great Rand Uprising. As I have said, its sad that it happened like that and no where in the world should it ever happen but it did. Instead of slamming the Police we should stand behind our boys in Blue. I have been in the Police for 3 years in the capacity of Reservist Constable and if I was in a situation and I had to make the choice those TRT members had to make, I would rather have nightmares for the rest of my life about the things I did than be in a box in the ground.

  • helio.paulo.7 - 2012-08-21 06:35

    Another one trying to gain political points...I am beginning to have my doubts about the DA....seriously!

  • paul.oxley.520 - 2012-08-21 08:03

    Dianne, with whatever respect I can muster, shut up! You are trying to score political brownie points in the wrong place this time. Your comments are gratuitous and uncalled for. Say something intelligent and considered or spare us the bluster.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-21 08:08

    Sorry Dianne, as a 100% DA supporter, it is not wise to get involved here, it is already very complex & sensitive, & although as the official opposition, you have a duty\right to be involved (unlike Malema), it is best that you keep a low profile for now.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-08-21 08:18

    Admit it General, if you knew anything about crowd control and anti riot procedures, you would know that the alternative to deadly force is first and foremost the use of non lethal methods of dealing with such a volatile situation. I wonder if your arsenal contained teargas, water cannons or dogs. I have seen in the past that police turn up at such demonstrations without all of the above, and would then either stand by and just watch looters comitting public violence, or have to use deadly force if the have to intervene. Go back to the tried and tested methods of policing such situations.

      mofstok - 2012-08-21 08:37

      They used teargas and rubber bullets, and the watercannon was on standby: you ban see all three clearly on the news footage.

  • nahi.straton - 2012-08-21 08:27

    People must learn to respect our police, you don't kill our police and work free

  • mht.xpress.9 - 2012-08-21 09:44

    Cheap politics DA

  • perumalgovender - 2012-08-21 10:05

    Freddy Govender The police commissioner is 100% correct. She has my vote.

  • perumalgovender - 2012-08-21 10:06

    Police Commissioner is correct.

  • denver.maart.1 - 2012-08-21 10:47

    every body has got a opinion about this mine incident put yourself in those officers shoes believe me i have been there politics should stay out of it people always say lack of training in police no training is a guideline real life situtation is different you maybe the best trained police officer but when it comes to the real world survival mode take over so to the D A PEOPLE let the families mourn there loved ones and let the police deal with the guilt they have to live with rather support every one involve miners and saps instead of turning this into a political sircus

  • lester.nel - 2012-08-21 10:56

    the more they talk the less they say

  • dewalds3 - 2012-08-21 12:15

    DA = ANC Lite!! Told you so many times..

  • wayne.r.smith.75 - 2012-08-21 13:31

    34 militant illegal striking worker were shot while attacking the SAPS command centre which is always way back from the action. The SAPS reaction united acted within their rights to protect their lives and equipment. There has been and international and national outcry over these shootings but nothing said about the policemen killed in the week leading up to the incident as well as all the hundreds of farmers who have been gunned down and hacked to death in the past few years. Get your priorities straight

  • wayne.faulds - 2012-08-21 14:12

    In this case i cannot agree with the DA's view. The police were attacked and the deaths resulted from them defending themselves against a barbaric hoarde intent on doing them harm. Al Jazeera has footage which claims to prove that the miners fired first. Witnesses on the ground have corroborated this. I think this is simply the DA being overly pious.

  • michael.j.anderson.144 - 2012-08-21 14:57

    Phiyega is a civilian. She has no clue. The cops are also clueless, remember that their training is WAY FAR behind where it should be - about 80% of cops FAILED their weapons training. Some of them didn't even know how to hold the bloody thing. And with THAT level of lack of experience or training, it's no wonder an entire police contingent opened fire, slaying 34 people. Had the pigs been trained properly, we would not have a massacre on our hands. Which we DO. Caused by the police. woulda coulda shoulda is not an argument. The cops killed 34 people, few of whom were armed. Thi sis why we call police "pigs".