No successful prosecutions for Marikana massacre, eight years later

Crosses were placed on the hill near Marikana in memory of the miners who died during the violence. File picture: Reuters

Crosses were placed on the hill near Marikana in memory of the miners who died during the violence. File picture: Reuters

Published Aug 13, 2020


Johannesburg – The legal representatives of the families of the mineworkers killed by police in Marikana, North West, eight years ago are unhappy that no one has been successfully prosecuted for the massacre.

Ahead of the commemoration of the eighth anniversary of the massacre in which 34 striking Lonmin mineworkers were killed, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri) complained that each year has passed without justice for the mineworkers and their families.

According to Seri, since 2012 only nine police officers have been prosecuted for the deaths of three striking mineworkers and two police officers in the days leading up to the massacre on August 16 that year.

"The National Prosecuting Authority has failed to prosecute anyone for the deaths of the 34 mineworkers who were shot and killed by the police on August 16, 2012," Seri said on Thursday.

The institute blamed a lack of political will to deliver any form of justice to the families as evidenced by the failure to prosecute those responsible.

The government is yet to release the 2018 report by the Panel of Experts on Policing and Crowd Management set up by former police minister Nathi Nhleko following recommendations of the commission of inquiry into the Marikana massacre chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam.

Seri added that while the families of the mineworkers continued to wait for justice, excessive use of force and brutality by the police persisted.

"Poor leadership and weak levels of police accountability have contributed to a pervasive culture of impunity within the police. This has had a devastating impact on public confidence in the police," the institute said.

It said the national lockdown had seen heavy-handed law enforcement by various state agencies including the Anti-Land Invasion Unit and other private security bodies, resulting in violations of dignity, physical injury and death.

Citing statistics from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Seri said police officers had murdered on average one person every day between April 2012 and March 2019.

"The cost of violent policing and lack of accountability continues to be paid by the families in their continued suffering. Government and the police have demonstrably failed to heed any of the lessons from Marikana," Seri said.

It said the government had failed to implement any measures to restrain the use of force by the police and to see to it that officers who operated outside the confines of the law and international best practice are held accountable.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union will hold its annual Marikana memorial on Friday.

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