Marikana survivors win a victory as charges dropped

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However ponderously, the wheels of justice do eventually turn. Whether they grind you to a pulp or help your fortunes along is then a question of which side of the fence you sit on.

For the survivors of the August 2012 massacre in Marikana, the decision by the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court yesterday must surely be a victory.

The court yesterday withdrew charges against the 279 miners who were arrested during the August 2012 unrest.

The group was charged with public violence, illegal gathering, possession of dangerous weapons and intimidation following the unrest at the Lonmin mine, which claimed the lives of 44 people.

The court’s vindication of the suspects was not so much due to a belief in their innocence as much as it was because it was logistically and logically impossible to prosecute them.

So not a soul will stand trial for the murder of six mineworkers, two police officers and two security guards who were hacked gruesomely.

Testimony before the Farlam Commission by the mysterious Mr X last month showed that some of these victims added to some bubbling cauldrons of muti.

“The charges were dropped due to the fact that the State would not be able to prove their cases if the matter went to trial,” said Andries Nkome, who was part of the defence team, adding that this had been the defence’s argument from the beginning.

Nkome said the miners were now weighing their options about laying charges against the police, who they claimed injured and assaulted them during the arrests.

“They are considering their legal options about the assault, and their decision on how to go about the matter will be made known in due course,” he said.

Well, if what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, then calls by the mineworkers for then minister of police Nathi Mthethwa, as well as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa along with police commissioner Riah Phiyega, to be charged with murder are… well… moot.

Unless of course the hypocrisy will be addressed later, if at all.

Retail

It is time for retailers to embrace the omnichannel customers who prefer both physical and online shopping. Consumers are in most cases ahead of retailers when it comes to being technology savvy and retailers should use this as a tool.

These were some of the views shared by Bob Welanetz, the chairman of the International Council of Shopping Centres, at a congress in Cape Town this week.

Welanetz was of the view that the rise of social media among customers should be used to benefit retailers. But how do they do that when there are so many channels, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and more?

Well, they should stick to one and do it very well, said international trend hawk Lady Kinvara Balfour.

She said consumers were now deciding what was trendy and what was not. The only thing that retailers should do is to listen to what consumers were saying in these channels.

“Trends are set on social networks which are shared by the global community and if your brand is not yet global then you need to change your strategy.”

Welanetz said most retailers and shopping centres were just starting to figure out how to deal with the psychographics of consumers. “It is no longer about demographics but more about what consumers want and when they want it,” he said.

Nick Soper, the head of design at Fonteria Digital Works, labelled this new trend as omnichannel retailing, where retailers need to have a presence on customers’ phones, tablets and desktop computers.

“Nowadays customers decide how, when, and where they want to engage with a brand, whether it be in a physical store or on smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. In order to meet customer needs and to ultimately drive sales, retailers need to adopt strategies which enhance the customer experience when it comes to e-commerce, and not rely on a one-size-fits-all approach,” Soper said.

Edited by Ellis Mnyandu. With contributions from Banele Ginindza and Nompumelelo Magwaza.


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