No justification for Marikana strikers’ death – Ntsebeza

Families of 36 miners who died in August 2012 will present their final arguments before the Marikana Commission tomorrow.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza will argue that there was no justification for the death of the strikers.

“The families will argue that Scene 1 was an attempt by the [South African Police Service] to encircle the strikers: in essence, a trap. While there is debate on whether there was a premeditated intent to kill the strikers, or to disarm and forcibly arrest them, it is indisputable that the police acted with, at least, dolus eventualis.

Evidence presented before the commission showed that the SAPS channelled the strikers to the line set up by heavily-armed tactical response team members, and that the strikers never actually attacked the line, as argued by the SAPS,” read a Socio-Economic Rights Institute statement.

Ntsebeza is expected to recommend to the commission further investigation and prosecution of

» Brigadier Adriaan Calitz, one of the commanders assigned to the Marikana operation;

» Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa;

» The SAPS leadership that endorsed the tactical intervention;

» SAPS members who were part of the joint operational coordinating committee and who attended the special meeting on August 16 at which the decision to implement the tactical plan was made;

» The commanders of the different SAPS units who took part in the operation; and

» Individual shooters on August 16.

“Ntsebeza and the families have also not heard justification as to why the police were allowed “to seek out and assassinate 17 people at Scene 2, a full 13 minutes after the killings at Scene 1.”

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute said that the families believed there was more than enough time for the SAPS to call a halt to the operation and that, if it had done so, these killings would not have occurred.

“This was grossly negligent under the circumstances and the SAPS should be held liable for the killings at Scene 2,” reads the statement.

According to Nomzamo Zondo, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute director of litigation and attorney for the families: “The families have sacrificed a lot to attend this commission and have endured the torture of watching their loved ones gunned down without regard for their humanity. They listened to people label their husbands, brothers and sons as muti-crazed savages, and watched the blatant manipulation of evidence by the SAPS and Lonmin.

“They endured this so that they could at some point demand justice for their loved ones’ deaths. This time has come. The families want the commission to recommend the criminal prosecutions of all those who were implicated in the deaths and compensation for the loss that they have suffered.”

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