The Report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the events at the Marikana Mine in Rustenburg recommended that an enquiry into National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega’s, fitness to hold office.
President Jacob Zuma, who addressed the nation during a live broadcast from the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday evening, said he had written to the National Commissioner to inform her of the recommendations pertaining to her.
“The commission has also recommended that there must be an inquiry into the fitness to hold office, of the National Police Commissioner as well as the North West Provincial Police Commissioner in terms of Section 9 of the South African Police Service Act,” said the President.
He said the Minister of Police would inform the former North West Police Commissioner on matters affecting her.
“The affected ministers will study the commission report and advise me on the implementation of the recommendations. Further updates on these matters will be provided in due course.”
On 26 August 2012, a commission of inquiry was appointed to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana during 11 to 16 August 2012.
About 44 people lost their lives and many others were injured.
The commission was chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, assisted by Advocates PD Hemraj SC and BR Tokota SC.
The commission was tasked with enquiring into and making findings and recommendations concerning the conduct of Lonmin Plc, the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and other government departments, as well as individuals and groupings.
President Zuma said the commission made a number of recommendations regarding policing, including that a panel of experts be appointed to revise and amend all prescripts relevant to public order policing; investigate the world’s best practices and measures available for use, without resorting to the use of weapons capable of automatic fire, where public order policing methods are inadequate.
He said in public order policing situations, operational decisions must be made by an officer in overall command, with recent and relevant training, skills and experience in public order policing.
Further to this, all radio communications should be recorded and the recordings should be preserved.
“Plans for public order policing operations should identify the means of communication which SAPS members will use to communicate with one another.
“A protocol should be developed and implemented for communication in large operations including alternative mechanisms, where the available radio system is such that it will not provide adequate means of communication,” he said.
According to the commission, the SAPS should review the adequacy of the training of the members who use specialised equipment such as water cannons and video equipment and all SAPS helicopters should be equipped with functional video cameras.
In operations where there is a high likelihood of the use of force, the plan should include the provision of adequate and speedy first aid to those who are injured. All police officers should be trained in basic first aid.
“The commission adds that the recommendations by the National Planning Commission, for the demilitarisation and professionalising of the SAPS, should be implemented as a matter of priority.
“With regards to accountability, where a police operation and its consequences have been controversial, requiring further investigation, the Minister and the National Commissioner should take care when making public statements or addressing members of the SAPS.
“They should not say anything which might have the effect of closing the ranks or discourage members who are aware of inappropriate actions, from disclosing what they know,” the President explained.
He said the standing orders should more clearly require a full audit trail and an adequate recording of police operations.
“The SAPS and its members should accept that they have a duty of public accountability and truth-telling, because they exercise force on behalf of all South Africans, the commission states.”
Staffing and resourcing of the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) should be reviewed to ensure that it is able to carry out its functions effectively.
The commission also recommends that all the killings and assaults that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012, should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, for further investigation and to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.
“The commission states that the propensity in South Africa presently for the carrying of sharp instruments and firearms and the associated violence even in service delivery protests, requires the strict enforcement of the laws that prohibit such conduct.
“It pointed out that the Lonmin workers can be seen very clearly on videos and photographs in possession of dangerous weapons at the public gatherings or in public places.
“The commission has thus called for a further investigation of offences, in terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act and the Possession of Dangerous Weapons Act,” said President Zuma.
The commission further recommends a full investigation, under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions in North West, with a view to ascertaining criminal liability on the part of all members of the SAPS who were involved in the incidents at scene 1 and 2.
The President said according to the commission, for the purposes of the investigation, a team should be appointed, headed by a senior state advocate, together with independent experts in the reconstruction of crime scenes, expert ballistic and forensic pathologists practitioners and senior investigators from IPID, and any such further experts as may be necessary.
President Zuma said the incident was a horrendous tragedy that has no place in a democracy, where all citizens have a right to protest and where workers have the right to go on strike peacefully and negotiate working conditions with their employers, peacefully.
“Breadwinners were taken away from their families in a brutal manner and untold pain and suffering befell the families and relatives. The entire South African nation was shocked. The world was also shocked as nobody expected this to happen in a free and democratic South Africa.
“We should, as a nation learn from this painful episode. We should use it to build a more united, peaceful and cohesive society,” he said.
He thanked the commission for the professional, efficient and effective manner in which they conducted the inquiry, as well as the families of all the persons who lost their lives for their cooperation with the commission despite being in pain and immense difficulties.
Read the Full Report here: report of commission of enquiry