Marikana remembered

To date no one has taken responsibility for the violence which made headlines around the world.

FILE: Marikana miners. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - In the week of the anniversary of the shootings at Lonmin's Marikana Mine, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has assured South Africans that they need not fear the police.

Several days of violence at Lonmin's platinum operation in the North West last August left a total of 44 people dead.

Majority were killed when police opened fire on a large group of protesting miners.

Phiyega spoke at a church in Langa in Cape Town on Sunday, telling congregants that the consequences of Marikana have had a deep impact on the country and especially its police force.

To date no one has taken responsibility for the violence which made headlines around the world and made a profound impact on the nation's psyche.

Phiyega said many questions still needed to be answered.

"I hope all participants in the commission will do all they can so that affected families and communities can find closure. Law abiding communities should neither fear nor hate the police."

She defended the police's actions and said she hopes one day the country will reach a point where her officers, the mining community and the public can live together in harmony.


Meanwhile, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry was once again postponed a week ago because funding for advocate Dali Mpofu's team had not yet materialised.

Mpofu, who is representing the arrested and injured miners, is fighting for state funding in order to continue representing them at the inquiry which is investigating the violence that erupted at Lonmin's platinum mine last year.

Government is funding the police's legal team.

Mpofu said it's only fair that all parties are equally represented at the inquiry.

Retired judge Ian Farlam says he may have been too optimistic in thinking that interim funding from an unnamed foundation would have come through.

Advocate George Bizos says his team will not be appearing until the funding issue is resolved.

They are concerned about public confidence due to the repeated postponements and have asked for the hearings to be speeded up when the inquiry finally resumes.

The inquiry was set up by President Jacob Zuma.