Cape Town -
It is time for difficult and painful questions about last week's Lonmin mine shooting in the North West, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Tuesday.
Speaking during a special debate in the National Assembly, she welcomed President Jacob Zuma's promise to establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry into the tragedy at Marikana.
At least 34 people died and 78 were injured in a clash between police and striking miners on Thursday.
Mazibuko said the tragedy could have and should have been prevented.
“Its escalation speaks of a lack of top-level leadership and of ministerial accountability.
“The judicial commission must therefore be established immediately with precise terms of reference. It must not at any point be downgraded to an internal inquiry.”
The commission should specifically establish who authorised the use of live ammunition on the striking workers, within the context of how the SA Police Service managed violent strikes.
“Whoever authorised the use of live ammunition must be held accountable.”
It should also, among other things, be revealed on what, if any, intelligence the planning was conducted; and if National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega exercised appropriate judgement and leadership.
“In most democracies, a crisis of this magnitude would have immediately precipitated the resignation of the 1/8police 3/8 minister, and, in many cases, the fall of the government.”
The Democratic Alliance was concerned that no one in the government seemed to be assuming political responsibility for the shooting.
“We need accountability now. The minister of police, the secretaries general of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, and the National Union of Mineworkers, and the chief executive officer of Lonmin should carefully consider their positions, and, in my view, offer their resignations. Their position is untenable.”
The commission should uncover every factor and decision that led to the violence.
Its work had to be data-driven, and not subject to political interference, sentiment, or a misguided desire to make the findings appear more acceptable.
“The role of every actor, from the mineworker to the trade union leader, the police officer, to the board member of Lonmin, the responsible government minister, to the president himself, must face fair and impartial scrutiny,” Mazibuko said. - Sapa