Report largely blames police for Marikana shootings

Riah Phiyega says the president has informed her about an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

FILE: National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says she has received a letter from President Jacob Zuma informing her about an inquiry into her fitness to hold office after the Marikana reported largely blamed the police for the August 2012 shootings on the platinum belt.

Phiyega has indicated that she will comply with the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's recommendations.

The head of the South African Police Services had praised officers on the ground after 34 miners were shot and killed.

After holding onto the report and studying its recommendations since March, Zuma finally made the findings public on Thursday night.

The police's conduct was criticised with the commission finding that the officers' tactical plan on 16 August 2012 was defective.

The inquiry recommends an inquiry into the fitness of Phiyega to hold office as well as North West Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo.

In August 2012, 34 miners were gunned down by the police at Lonmin's Marikana mine during a labour protest.

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

An inquiry was established by the president to investigate if the police were justified in using lethal force.

The inquiry sat for 293 days and heard testimonies from 50 witnesses about the violence that broke out at the North West platinum mine.

WATCH: 2012 Marikana shooting.


As it was expected, the police's operation on 16 August 2012 was heavily criticised.

Firstly the commission found that the plan to encircle the miners with barbed wire in order to get them to hand over their weapons was abandoned.

"The encirclement plan was replaced by the tactical option which was defective in a number of respects." Zuma said.

Ammunition was ordered and mortuary vehicles called to the scene before the shooting indicating that police had anticipated there would be bloodshed.

Mbombo also on the day indicated that police should 'do what it takes'.

WATCH: Highlights of Marikana report.

Lawyers representing the Marikana miners were shocked to find out that the report would be released last night.

They were expecting a 48 hour notice period, this was a verbal agreement between the lawyers for the Marikana miners and Zuma's legal team, although the president was not legally obliged to give a notice.

This however resulted in many not being emotionally prepared.

Phiyega has until the end of July to respond.

To read the full Marikana report, click here.