Tutu slams 'tidal waves' of violence

2012-08-21 22:17

Cape Town - Peace icon and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Tuesday condemned South Africa's police "massacring" of 34 mineworkers, but said officers seem powerless against massive levels of violent crime and protests.

"When we consigned apartheid to history, we said never again would it happen that our police and our soldiers would massacre our people," Tutu wrote in the late edition of the Business Report, citing brutal shootings like Sharpeville in 1960.

"But our police appear powerless to stop tidal waves of violent crime and what we euphemistically refer to as 'service delivery protests', the latter regularly accompanied by violence and destruction committed with utter impunity."

Seen as a symbol of South Africa's conscience, Tutu, a Nobel peace prize laureate, said the condemnation for the police's "massacring" of 34 workers and calls for non-lethal crowd control were right.

Yet sympathy was needed for the majority of good officers struggling to do difficult jobs faced with high level graft and calls by bosses to "shoot to kill".


The country's powerful seemed more concerned with preserving power than leading or helping the poor, he said.

"We have created a small handful of mega-rich beneficiaries of a black economic empowerment policy while spectacularly failing to narrow the gap in living standards between rich and poor South Africans. Instead, we have allowed the gap to widen," he charged.

Hard-won apartheid battles to gather and march were also being abused in democracy.

"When we march, we demand, we destroy and we loot. We care not whether our demands are reasonable, or what actions we take."

The country's healed wounds and divisions from its apartheid past had combined with a climate of political tolerance to trigger the Marikana tragedy, he said.

"As a country, we are failing to build on the foundations of magnanimity, caring, pride and hope embodied in the presidency of our extraordinary Tata [father] Nelson Mandela."

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-08-21 22:31

    Well said - enough blame on all sides.

      jalo.kula - 2012-08-21 23:07

      only if we are talking about political parties, because this has become a feeding frenzy, sick, shame on them.

      ben.spreeth - 2012-08-22 03:29

      Yes, there are two sides to a coin, but is violence not part of the Afica heritage? Will it ever go away?

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-22 05:56

      Ben_S - read more. Violence is universal. Check your history, read up about the Balkan's and the sectarian wars that have been prevalent for recorded history. Read up Asian history, google Huns, Mongols etc. Then google Crusades, Inquisition etc. Will it go away, probably not, but it is not African, it is "human".

      press.enter.12 - 2012-08-22 08:43

      @Ben.S - Africans violent - no way - we are faithful disciples of ubuntu . . . . .

      mart.botha - 2012-08-22 09:47

      This statement I make is about blame, but not about who has already been blamed. South Africa produces 80% of the world's platinum production. A 'super power' wishes to own and control this rare metal. China has for many years now been colonising Africa and taking control of it's resources. Lusaka in Zambia (close to mining) has a Chinese population in excess of 120 000 people mostly labourers, Beatrice-Harare in Zimbabwe (close to mining) has I believe a population of about 40 000 Chinese (mostly labourers) and Angola I am told, that outside of a few enclosed foreign owned mines, that the place and mining industry is overrun with Chinese labourers. Part of the Chinese plan for world domination is to subject desired target areas and have them declared unstable and economically unviable for existing operators. They do this by buying allegiance from key players such as politicians, company executives, unions, and disgruntled workers by paying them huge incentives to 'go bos!' Once the dust has settled you will find that a 'buyer' will come in and 'rescue' the situation - yip the Chinese are orchestrating this production for their own benefit. And then as previously mentioned, to be profitable and assume control of the industry they bring in their own labour, and South African labour has been sold down the river. A Chinese labourer will be forced by his masters to work for a lot less than the R4000 pm that is currently being paid to drillers...??? Chinese tourists....haha ?

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-08-22 10:33

      @mantlekilo I spoke about these happenings before as well, but it seams people do not take notice because it is not "close" at home or they like to jump to their new "savior" because they do not want to listen/understand that the current people around them is telling them. When attitude/hate is driving you, one will be steered over the cliffs. I did not know the Zambia influx is now so big. Neither the Beatric one. I know about the "take-over" in the Copper-belt and hills full of crosses, but according to your writing my projection got overshadowed. We were always joking that you recognized a country when going backwards economically.( Based on what we saw in Zambia and Zimbabwe.) First the Europeans left. Than the Jews, Portuguese, Greeks. They are followed by the Indians and Pakistan. Eventually the Lebanese left. While all these happenings the influx of the Chinese grows. The only people befitting is certain business leaders and politicians and also only on the short term because when in, these "newcomers" becomes the "bosses" and the extra "benefits" dry up. It seams this was a joke joke with some foresight in it. The pity is that the local people are the losers. A new way of "slavery". I hope we are both wrong, but that is how it seams to happen. I am just feel very sorry for my beloved Zambians.( x resident) (sorry readers if we are a bit off the note, but believe me this man's words must be taken note of)

      edward.patterson.923 - 2012-08-22 15:00

      @chaapo; yes enough blame to go around. However, President Zuma must admit that crime (of all kinds against all colors) is skyrocketing in SA. Then he must ask some difficult questions about why. When he does he is going to find an inconvenient fact, the ANC's armed wing has trained South African Freedom fighters to use violence to effect change. This started in 1961 and it continued until 1994 (33 years that is a lot of people who were steeped in this philosophy). Please understand I'm not making a judgment call on whether or not the ANC and PAC should or shouldn't have used violence. I'm merely stating the fact that it trained and modeled a style of resistance, that when you opposed something violence was acceptable. Now the ANC has to confront this fact that many people don't differentiate between the pre-apartheid struggle and the post apartheid struggles that they are having with poor service delivery, poverty, joblessness, ect. The learned response is violence. Add to that the fact the Mr. Malema (very much alive in the political discussion, from the outside looking in) is saying that there needs to be a second "struggle" for economic empowerment. So when the workers at the Lonmin mine felt that their demands weren't met and weren't going to be met they then took it to the next step and armed themselves, thus setting up what "HAD TO BE" a violent situation. I have never heard of such a situation, in any country, when two armed groups confront each other cont.

      edward.patterson.923 - 2012-08-22 15:05

      @chaapo continued not ending in violence. Could the violence been less deadly? Possibly. But when you look at the facts of what had and was transpiring I not so sure. The police had tried tear gas, rubber bullets, ect. nothing was working. The police were greatly outnumbered. The miners were armed with knives and spears, but with a country where there are so many illegal guns, and many of them automatic rifles, (you see this with home invasions and farm killings) the police had to be wondering when these weapons would arrive. The problem goes deeper than miners vs police during a strike. It goes to an ingrained attitude that violence is acceptable. That rule of law isn't important. Change these things and you won't have a Lonmin.

  • lownabester - 2012-08-21 22:46

    Tutu, must pratice what he preach, he loves to incite hate towards the Israelis.

      piet.boerie - 2012-08-22 05:41

      Where? The anti-semmitc chant every time some criticises Israel does not work any more moron. Idiot Israeli propaganda trolls

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-22 05:58

      Off topic and ad hominem. Is he right about South Africa.

      lownabester - 2012-08-22 08:34

      Piet, he wants to preach peace, he should be tolerate of peacein all countries, its him opening his mouth all the time' @gungets, I dont care if its off topic. I care for what is relevant.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-22 08:43

      It's not relevant either. Not in this discussion. I might as well bring up global warming saying it is making everyone grumpy, therefore the violence. Google Ad Hominem and you will see what I mean.

      patrick.buckley.712 - 2012-08-22 09:03

      Just be happy that this moegoe has finally bothered to comment on one of our many local dilemmas for a change

  • christiaan.potgieter.3 - 2012-08-21 22:46

    The theology of the revolution was jointly responsible for igniting the flame of defiance and violence that has eventually become a bush fire (or tidal wave for that matter)in SA.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-22 06:01

      Revolution starting when - 1880 - when the Boer War started? Or does your recorded history start with the anti-Apartheid movement?

      wilhelm.snyman.1 - 2012-08-22 13:04

      Sorry, Mr Potgieter, apartheid did a lot of needless harm, and put every kind of obstacle in black people's way. That is why we sit with this mess now as Jan Smuts warned the Nats back in 1947, if they introduced apartheid (read Hansard debates of 1947). the fact that the country is now run by a bunch of clowns doesn't undo the fact that it was practically illegal to be black in apartheid SA. En nou sit ons...'n groot gemors. Jannie Smuts waar is jy nou....?

  • christelle.james.7 - 2012-08-21 22:49

    A voice of reason! Abuse of power by the liberators - ill-equiped law-enforcement, out of control strikers. But nobody cares to listen to the Bishop any more.

  • bryan.culross - 2012-08-21 22:56

    The question that begs asking is why were the (majority ) of whites so resistent to transforming to "democracy"? I believe that this was because they were well aware that transformation would (ultimately)lead to the situation that we currently have in SA and worse down the line. Bishop Tutu you must take your fair share of the responsibility for the current situation in South Africa. What is not apparant from your comments, however, is that what is happening in South Africa is very much in-keeping with what has happened in the most of the rest of Africa.

      koos.vandermerwe.338 - 2012-08-22 05:37

      'I told you so' springs to mind.

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-08-22 14:08

      Mr Culross, I disagree that the majority of whites were resistant to transformation under apartheid. The majority of whites sat silent. Much like the majority of South Africans sit silent right now! In 1990 enough was enough, EVERYONE acted together to change. THAT IS WHY IT WAS PEACEFUL. It is part of our process of understanding how to develop a democracy (the French revolution took 70 years - yes 70 years!). This will not last forever! Don't buy into the argument that particular individuals made the transformation happen, that is simply not true - because EVERYONE made it happen. THAT IS WHY IT WAS PEACEFUL. There is a huge disparity between rich and poor. With such a disparity, the realities confronted by each group is so great, it is understandable that demands appear unreasonable. Just remember: Blame is the first casualty of a compromise!

  • cliff.slabbert - 2012-08-21 22:59

    Much more complicated than that Arch !

  • VWhitepaw - 2012-08-21 23:02

    From what I hear, police tried water canons and rubber bullets. But why do protesters have guns? I'm not even mentioning the other wepons Unless they wanted to escalate the 'strike' Apparently there is even evidence that the strikers shot first live amo at the police first. Yet the police is at fault? Strikers in this country need no reason to strike. As long as they can cause damage, obstruct and demand. It does no need to make sense. That is what is becoming a joke that other countries point and laugh about. That is what is hindering investments and jobs. Any striker causing damage or obstruction should be arrested and sent to jail like a criminal. But that would cause another strike. Just like the Taxis on the road. Act as if the law does not apply to them, because if you do something. They going to cause damage, directly or indirectly.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-08-21 23:07

      Barbarians !

  • neilmurray13 - 2012-08-21 23:36

    Any violence, intimidation or destruction of property should automatically render a strike an illegal act and strikers no longer afforded the protection of their right to strike. Thereafter, any persons who do not return to work automatically dismissed, so their jobs can be given to people who need it. More prosecutions of the perpertrators these disgusting acts of unnecessary violence and dismissal of troublemaking strikers not conforming to the spirit of the law provided to give them a voice to air their grievences, in the longer term will bring back a level of civilization to these strikes that only seem to serve a small minority of power hungry fatcat's political agenda. Sometimes strikes are justifable, but what we have in this country is deplorable war-mongering that never seem to serve the claimed cause.

      stephen.grant.186 - 2012-08-22 07:58

      Neil, Agree, where property is destroyed and or injuries occur, the strikers and or there unions must also be held responsible for all and any damages.

  • ian.flack2 - 2012-08-21 23:54

    Unfortunately Sir, "The country's powerful" do not listen........

      tsespho.kathu - 2012-08-22 00:01

      he wena boetie... they listen, they always listen

      Jennifer - 2012-08-22 08:59

      They love to say they listen then they go for lunch

      ian.flack2 - 2012-08-22 10:32

      Hi Tsespho, they may listen but they certainly do not hear........

  • michil.chegwidden - 2012-08-22 00:47

    Civilization, Muti, Witchdoctors, Bishop's ????? Bush or City

      gungets.tuft - 2012-08-22 06:10

      Yet people go to church, refuse to walk under ladders, throw salt over their shoulders, take homeopathic medicine (muti???), refuse to have Row 13 or the 13th floor in buildings. All in the City. Quaint isn't it?

  • makgale.makgalemele - 2012-08-22 01:12

    Ntate Moruti, post Mandela era is littered with greed that is eroding moral viber of Africans.Zuma convassing for presidency going to Polokwane said that if elected he will push for eradication of tendering process in government procurement amongst things he promised. None of those is forthcoming. We instead witness ravaging hawks hovering over gravy tankers of this slow moving delivery train. People feel helpless and thus turn to violence to make audible noise that will be heard. It is unfortunate, instead of being listened to the poor are killed. I wish we listened to Ntate Moruti when you said how embarrased to say in New York that you are South African and your President is a certain Jacob Zuma. We should have heeded your ( and Thabo Mbeki )'s advice that voting for this Administration is suicidal. Pray for us Moruti to be wise in the coming elections to make a correct choice of 'a' Leader. Pray for the media to educate us to democracy means electing Administraion that listen to the aspiration of its constituency. Let your knees not tire in praying for those who will be going to Mangaung. Pray they deploy a cadre that will lead. Please pray for us for we are dead.

  • - 2012-08-22 01:37

    The question I would like to raise is this, Why is it when the black masses in South Africa - protest or demonstrate against any injustice, they do so with weapons of violence, knobkerries, sjamboks, spears etc, cant they just demonstrate without trying to intimidate. The weapons they carry with them are purely for intimidation. The police had no alternative but to fire on them, when one views the video footage of the incident, any person in their right mind would have fired in defense. With a mob of worked up workers charging with arms raised with weapons in hand, surely that should be identified as violent threatening behaviour with the intent to do harm to anyone. Culteral Weapons should be banned in South Africa from all demonstrations and political rallys, there is no place for them in political rallys or in public demonstrations neither in public places.

      blip.noodlum - 2012-08-22 01:54

      Mr Buthelezi insists these weapons are merely their "cultural accoutrements", just like yours are a collar-and-tie and cufflinks.

      Mark McDonogh - 2012-08-22 06:54

      Well said Rob! The problem is that the country's leaders only want to lead themselves into more opportunities of corruption. They do not resent even an image of desire to lead the country into a nation of integrity. It sinGod' s authority that they are abusing and their Demi's is notnfarnoff

      sarel.brits - 2012-08-22 11:38

      Yes I agree, the tools of a protest is a picket board with some or other slogan painted on it, this was a armed mob, where would this have ended if the police did not do their work and stop these criminals.

  • steveroodt - 2012-08-22 03:50

    No Truer Word Spoken

  • Gerald Jordaan - 2012-08-22 06:00

    The voice of reason but does the corrupt ANC leadership listen ?

  • Phelamanga - 2012-08-22 07:09

    It is not surprising that that people have resorted to violence to get what they want. What can be expected if members of the ruling elite, even those who no longer have their positions, use words which are laden with inherent violence - Dubula, shoot, kill, bullet,revolution, etc. The continual conflict in the ideology of Marxism in which workers are agitated into creating a revolutionary atmosphere in the workplace has to reap its harvest at some stage, and the Marikana Massacre is the result of this. The violence that permeates SA society is another outcome of this. The continual habit of placing blame on the past, the Whites, the imperialists and on other external mythologies by the ruling elites and their hangers-on is to blame for this state of affairs. It's about time they looked to themselves and started to change their approach to ruling. But, this can be very difficult when one is cocooned from the world in luxurious ideological indifference where one argues about whether one is starting a second transition or a second phase while pampering oneself in the luxury of a five star hotel and living off the proceeds of a 1-million-plus annual salary. We need to tackle violence in our society first before we tackle anything else. We need peacemakers, not warmongering.

  • - 2012-08-22 07:17

    It is only words from Tutu but one feels he does not know the full story as it unfolded at Marikana. Had the police not fired or retired their bodies would have been laying there.

  • whoowhoohoo - 2012-08-22 07:18

    The Nationalists warned the whole world about the scenario now unfolding in South Africa. You were part and parcel of the ANC promising heaven on earth to the black masses once they got rid of the White Government. Don't be holier than thou now, the blood of all the white farmers killed as well as these dead miners are on your hands too old Archie. By the way, how about 5 days mourning for every 34 white farmers killed since you guys started "governing"? I could do with a year or so of mourning and flags hanging halfmast. You are nothing but an old fool and a hypocrite in my eyes.

      stefan.kruger.1297 - 2012-08-22 07:38

      Love It!! hahaha!! brilliant!!

  • stefan.kruger.1297 - 2012-08-22 07:37

    Amen Tutu... You know what is going on, now just make more noise about it!! We need Activism to take control here!!!

  • technician.job - 2012-08-22 07:49

    I wish these dudes can get apartheid out of the reasoning. Many of the people involved in crime and violence are born in the new SA, or had almost 18 years to benefit from the BBBEE system to get somewhere in life. Stop referring to apartheid. Pointing to apartheid shows me that you guys don't have a answer for the chaos in this country. Why don't you rather point to culture, African culture. You guys so badly want to be in leadership and have all the technology and money, but you are not willing to lay down your culture. A culture of toitoi to get everything sorted. A culture of taking up the gun, a stick or a knife it you don't get what you want. Come one man, where do you come from, and where are you going."skrik wakker". Giving the demander more money won't fix the problem. Another big problem is withcraft. Listen to a dude telling you that you will be invisible to the SAP's bullets. Bwhaa haa. Eish!

  • TshilidziPhuravhathu - 2012-08-22 07:59

    I wounder what people would say if tables were turned and 34 SAPS members were killed instead... would that be a more socialy acceptable massacer in our so called democratic country? The opposite of Sharpeville i mean...

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-08-22 09:12

    Yes, you have already failed bacause you thought that running a country is a joke and by running a country you can suck more and more investers money for so-called apartheid atrosities(which was suppose to last for only 10 years, but you keep hammering on it to suck more money)! The anc installed these actions years ago (70's and 80's) and they are sowing what they have reaped. History repeating itself in various forms all over again. Only difference - a different government. So who are you going to blame this time round?

  • leon.j.steyn - 2012-08-22 09:28 Enough said. Now say again that it was the police who massacred them. It was self-defence. Dumb idiots.

  • elsbeth.verhoeven - 2012-08-22 09:31

    this is just the beginning. Words thrown around, but missing the whole point. And then what next, blame all then wrong people and the wrong issues. Here nobody will win everybody will be loosers. And so it goes on and on and on.

  • nadineelvina.francis - 2012-08-22 10:11

    Love you old man !! You are a man of great wisdom- You tell it like it is and too hell with those who dont like the truth.

      thando.moloi.9 - 2012-08-22 10:32

      You people know where your bread is buttered dont you? I am not surprised.

  • thereevos - 2012-08-22 10:24

    A aljeezra camera man showed footage of the miners shooting first.caught on can see it on news24 multimedia section.the proof is in the shoot at police or anyone you will be shot as well.this needs to go back to the traditional healer who essentially played god telling them the police bullets will not have any affect on them.the incitement was there.a pity half the top brass in the ANC weren't striking with them....that includes you malema you dumb zotsha

  • thando.moloi.9 - 2012-08-22 10:31

    Ahhhh....Tutu the gate keeper of white "opulance".

      jacowium - 2012-08-22 10:56

      Dear T-man, this issue is about Marikana, if you haven't noticed. Wait, you clearly haven't noticed.

  • andre.burrows.92 - 2012-08-22 12:31

    Better late than not arriving Tutu! The violent means that Black Africans use to achieve their goals was instilled into their followers by the cANCer already back in the early 60's. We have tried "democracy and education cANCer style", but it is clear to all that it was futile.Lets try real democracy where you can only vote if you have an income and a matric.

  • brilloks.bittergal - 2012-08-22 12:48

    wow! I wonder if he has menopause? rational thinker the one day -drama queen the next. the one day he makes complete sense the next day he throws his toys out the cot for not being able to invite his friend to his birthday party. Nevertheless all off the above mentioned points are valid and correct.. .

  • wilhelm.snyman.1 - 2012-08-22 12:58

    SA needs a leader, and who have we got, Zuma! Well said Tutu. The violence and the chaos in the country are paving the way for Malema to becme president...

  • chez.kri - 2012-08-22 15:27

    Firstly; I don't think we can blame the policeman standing there with nothing but a gun; he is being chased down by people carrying pangas - a vicious weapon. The police in charge should have been better prepared. Secondly, in 1998 I knew a foreign white man who hated Africa and was a racist. After retiring from a platinum mine he used to consult from time to time. his salary back then? R600 an hour. These guys should be earning R12000 a month as they want. R4000 is disgusting and an insult.

  • leon.v.rensburg.1 - 2012-08-22 17:43

    Mr. Tutu, what you are saying about the handfull off mega-rich beneficiaries of black empowerment is so true. The promise to the poor South Africans had been long forgotten! I am not radical, but the way things are deteriorating in our country, I think it is time we take to the streets like in Lybia, Egypt, etc and force change. Come-on, Mr. Tutu. lead this movement!

  • strauss.steven - 2012-08-22 21:56

    tutu is as false as a four rand note

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-23 07:19

    Everybody appauled by the actions of the police and yet nobody says anything about how these strikers killed 10 people. Just wonder if the police weren't involved at all, would those responsible for killing the 10 be brought to justice or would it just be a matter of collateral damage? ANC and other parties did nothing until after the shooting happened.

  • pages:
  • 1