'Marikana commission can't be blamed for fact that there were no prosecutions' - Judge Farlam

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Strike leader Mgcineni Noki, also known as the man in the green blanket, rallies mine workers at Marikana ahead of their encounter with police in August 2012. PHOTO: Leon Sadiki
Strike leader Mgcineni Noki, also known as the man in the green blanket, rallies mine workers at Marikana ahead of their encounter with police in August 2012. PHOTO: Leon Sadiki

Marikana Commission of Inquiry chairperson Judge Ian Farlam is of the view that the commission cannot be blamed for the lack of prosecutions following the shootings seven years ago, which saw 34 people killed by police on August 16.

"A panel was appointed to gather evidence for prosecution. State Advocate [JP] Pretorius was appointed to chair it, but I don’t know what has happened since. There has been a deafening silence.

"I don’t think that we can be blamed for the fact that there were no prosecutions. If our recommendations were implemented, I have no doubt that there would have been prosecutions," he told 702 on Friday morning.

Seven years ago - on August 16, 2012 - 34 mineworkers were killed by police, 78 wounded and 250 arrested. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed during the previous week, News24 earlier reported.

ALSO READ: Marikana inquiry cost R153m - report

The commission, headed by the retired judge, investigated the killings which occurred during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, Rustenburg. The recommendations included: an inquiry into the fitness to hold office of suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega; the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate several of the killings; and whether police exceeded the bounds of self and private defence in shooting the strikers, News24 earlier reported.

The commission did not lead to senior politicians, police officers or key roleplayers being charged by the National Prosecuting Authority.

"As far as the politicians, it was said at the time that we had exonerated everyone, including the minister of police. That is simply not true. We couldn’t make a definite finding against the minister of police and, on the other hand, we couldn't make a definite finding in favour as well. 

"As far as [Cyril] Ramaphosa, we set out all the reasons in the report of why we exonerated Mr Ramaphosa. No one has come since to my knowledge and said that they got this wrong. It is difficult to deal with criticism that is not motivated and has no grounds," Farlam said.

ALSO READ: Marikana: What you should know

The final 600-page report on the commission's work was handed to then-president Jacob Zuma at the end of March, 2015.

The report recommended that the killings and assaults be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further investigation, News24 earlier reported.

Gareth Newham, of the Institute for Security Studies, told Daily Maverick that a panel of experts had presented a report to the minister of police in April last year, with recommendations on police reform, following recommendations made by the Farlam Commission, but to date nothing had happened with that report. 

He added that, while a number of police officers had been criminally charged for the death of a striking mineworker, who died on August 13, there had been no accountability for the officers who oversaw the massacre or who killed the striking miners. Officers who were found to have lied under oath at the Farlam Commission had also not been held accountable. 

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