Marikana Lawyers: We can prove Ramaphosa’s involvement

Lawyers are adamant Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should be held responsible for the massacre.

FILE: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for the wounded and arrested miners say there is evidence to prove Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's involvement in the Marikana massacre.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry has found that Ramaphosa, who was a Lonmin shareholder at the time, was not behind the killings of 34 miners on the 16 August 2012.

President Jacob Zuma released the much anticipated report last night outlining a summary of the findings and recommendations which shows there were no grounds to hold Ramaphosa responsible.

However Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners, says they will be seeking legal action.

"Judge Farlam may have found that he was not the cause of the massacre but maybe another judge might find that he was."

Advocate George Bizos, who was part of the commission and says in the past the police were not exonerated, and the report has focused on investigating the officers who opened fire as well as top police management.

"The commission for many years found people are not to blame. The courts said there was no one to blame. This time around they found the police should be investigated."

The Commission also found that the police's operational plan was defective and proposed several recommendations to improve the conduct of the South African Police Services (Saps).

The commission cleared Ramaphosa of the deaths of 34 miners.

This is something that the miners have been pushing for even during the commission's proceedings.

During one session miners had chanted 'blood on his hands' several times.

Ramaphosa had sent an email calling for concomitant action on the eve of the Marikana shooting during the commission he explained what he meant.

"I felt that this needed the police to take appropriate action to arrest those who were involved in these acts of criminality."

Mpofu has insisted that there was a chain of political pressure, starting with Ramaphosa going to the North West Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo and ultimately the deaths of 34 people.


While legal teams and counsellors brief families of miners, workers at the Lonmin are divided on who is to blame, but say someone must go to jail.

A group of widows and representatives of the families gathered at the mine's offices last night to watch the President's release of the report.

The exact details of the Marikana report are still being scrutinised through by lawyers but this worker says he thinks it's just a ploy to protect politicians.

"Zuma is protecting his own people; Ramaphosa is one of the people who are guilty."

But not everyone shares this view; this man says the miners who were on the Koppie and survived the shooting must be investigated.

"Let's investigate the guys at the top [of the Koppie] there, not the police. They were doing their job; they were instructed to do that, in my view."

A mass meeting will be held in Marikana on Sunday where the full report will be explained to workers.

There was no findings about the former mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu's involvement but in the report retired Judge Ian Farlam says there was an amendment to the terms of reference, which he was alerted to via a letter from the president in April, that the investigation relating to the role of the mineral resources department may be considered at a later stage.

During Zuma's address last night he stated that the commission found former police minister Nathi Mthethwa had no involvement in the police's operational plan.

But a closer look at the full report shows that the commission could not find with certainty that Mthethwa had not given any executive guidance when the decision was made to move to a tactical phase.

The commission also found that the two main unions, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) didn't do enough to try and curb the violence.

The report says Amcu members were singing provocative songs and making inflammatory statements.

At the same time the NUM did not allow workers to speak to Lonmin and failed to exercise control over its members.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's office announced today that she is aware of the investigation into her fitness to hold office and has been given until the end of July to respond.

Phiyega will not be making any public pronouncements at this stage and says the police must continue with their duties as normal.

At the same time, there've been questions about what impact this report will have in the long term.

The Marikana shootings have often been described as a watershed that will lead to real change.

For the moment, it appears that the first changes could happen within the police service.

But political analyst professor Steven Friedman says he doesn't see any evidence that anyone is really changing their behaviour.

"If you look at government, labour and businesses as the main parties in this, I don't see any particular change of position from any of them."

The period after the shootings saw a five month-long strike in the platinum sector led by the Amcu, while gold miners in the current round of wage talks are demanding increases of up to a 100 percent, amid fears of more strike action.

The police have also been called out for not disclosing information to the commission of inquiry particularly about its tactical plan and when this was decided on.

Meanwhile, Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer Greg Marinovich says the commission failed to hold politicians accountable and those responsible for the bloodshed should be arrested.

Marinovich, who is also an author and filmmaker based in America, says the recommendations were weak and disappointing.

He says the focus should not fall only on the police but those behind the scenes.

"Those people should be fired immediately. And face criminal charges for obstruction of justice, for lying under oath and falsifying evidence."

Marinovich exposed crucial aspects of the Marikana shooting and says his work is not done.

"I will continue to work on Marikana and the effects of Marikana. It's a watershed moment in modern South African history; our democratic history."

To read the full Marikana report,_ click here._

To read the highlights from the president's report _ click here._