Marikana Inquiry: Police's claim of self-defence not justified

Advocate George Bizos says the 'no-one-to-blame' conclusion is no longer a proper finding.

FILE: The Farlam Commission of Inquiry is in its final phase after sitting for 293 days. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The police have once again come under fire at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry with a closing argument focusing on their apparent lack of accountability.

The commission is in its final phase, after sitting for 293 days and hearing testimony from more than 50 witnesses.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force when 34 protesting miners were gunned down at Lonmin's Marikana mine on 16 August 2012.

Ten people were also killed in the days leading to the shooting including a mineworker, strikers, two Lonmin security guards and two policemen.

So far, the evidence leaders and the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) have pointed fingers at the police for their conduct at Marikana.

Advocate George Bizos from the Legal Resources Centre has also argued that the police's claim of self-defence is not justified.

"What this amounts to is a submission made by the South African Police Service that they should be exonerated, completely exonerated, for anything that happened."

Bizos says the commission has reached the stage where the 'no-one-to-blame conclusion' is no longer a proper finding.

Earlier, the SAHRC's lawyer Michelle le Roux strongly criticised the police's conduct.

Le Roux said live ammunition was brought to the scene and mortuary vans called out, meaning the police could foresee that lethal force would likely be used in Marikana.

She said they should have taken steps to minimise deaths.

Le Roux added that police have not taken accountability for their actions and did not provide the commission with all the relevant information.

She said this shows that police failed to engage in a full and fair manner.