18 May 2014

South Africa: Marikana Commission - All for Nought?

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Police on standby at Marikana (file photo).


The Marikana Commission has just over 30 working days left until it is to wrap up on 31 July, and it has suddenly descended into a penalty shootout situation. Still to come are some two dozen police witnesses, ANC deputy president and mining magnate Cyril Ramaphosa, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the secret police informer, Mr X.

The Commission has previously been the site of lengthy and tedious cross-examination of unwilling witnesses. The obstructive approach of the National Commissioner Riah Phiyega, and the many hours trying to get Deputy Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Mirriam Mbombo to explain just how she was unaware of the miners' deaths for so long, are just two examples.

Lawyers such as the Human Rights Commission's advocate Michelle Le Roux, Dali Mpofu for the surviving miners - and others - have month after month laboured to get at the truth behind South Africa's worst incident of state violence since Apartheid ended.

Now, the lawyers for the various parties, including the families of the dead miners and policemen, are to be given scant minutes to cross-examine many of the key witnesses.

A case in point was the brief appearance of Tactical Response Team commander...

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