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No 'concrete evidence' of gunfire exchange between Marikana miners, police

Thursday, 16 August, will mark exactly six years since 34 striking mineworkers were gunned down in the North West.

Miners sing songs of remembrance on the Koppie in Marikana. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says there is no concrete evidence to suggest there was an exchange of gunfire between striking workers and police officers at 'Scene 2’, known as the “Killing Koppie”, on the day of the Marikana massacre.

Thursday 16 August will mark exactly six years since 34 striking mineworkers were gunned down in the North West.

The institute says its investigations show the police who opened fire on striking miners were reacting to bullets coming from their own colleagues in the opposite direction.

The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Marikana retired Judge Ian Farlam, says one of the questions which should be asked is why South African Police Service officials acted the way they did.

He says the officers involved could be charged with attempted murder.

“As soon as the policemen realised what was going to happen, they didn’t lay down their arms, voluntarily. The intelligence was there wouldn’t, so they ordered four hearses and 4,000 rounds of ammunition.”

At the same time, the ISS says South Africa’s new leadership should erase the stain of the Marikana massacre by prosecuting the police commanders and those who pulled the triggers in the country’s worst post-apartheid killing.

ISS Justice and Violence Prevention head Gareth Newman says police can only put Marikana massacre to bed if they take responsibility for the unnecessary killings by holding accountable the commander and those who pulled the triggers.

Farlam told the ISS seminar the re-militarisation of police contributed to the massacre.

PROTEST

Meanwhile, the Marikana Youth Development Organisation has condemned the banning of a protest planned for Thursday to mark the six-year anniversary of the Marikana massacre.

The group is calling for Tharisa Mines to resolve community grievances and for Rustenburg officials to stop interfering with the right to protest in Marikana.

The organisation says the mines’ management, the municipality and police have been using delays and refusals since 2017 to prevent demonstrations.

Spokesperson Raserole Mashamaite says officials haven’t given a valid excuse for banning Thursday’s demonstration.

“They’re playing political games because some police officials are colluding with mines. They knew that if we march on Thursday some things will be revealed during the march, and they know that everyone will be in Marikana. So, that’s the reason they don’t want our march to proceed.”

Tharisa Mines has not yet been available to comment on the claims.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)