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SERI demands answers from Phiyega about heavy police presence that led to Marikana massacre

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute is demanding answers from former police commissioner Riah Phiyega, concerning the involvement of a strong contingent of police in what was a labour dispute at Marikana. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute is demanding answers from former police commissioner Riah Phiyega, concerning the involvement of a strong contingent of police in what was a labour dispute at Marikana. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Published Jun 23, 2021

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Johannesburg - The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) is demanding answers from former police commissioner Riah Phiyega, concerning the involvement of a strong contingent of police in what was a labour dispute at Marikana.

SERI executive director Nomzamo Zondo said the institute was outraged at the attempt by Phiyega to have the findings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, concerning her role in the Marikana massacre, set aside.

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SERI accused Phiyega of hiding crucial information concerning the events of the massacre and possibly protecting some people.

“She is trying to escape responsibility for what happened in the massacre, and also attempting to ignore and avoid the consequences of her actions – before and after the massacre. There was a meeting of the national management team of SAPS and we know a decision was made that on the next day – that come what may, the miners should be removed from the mountain and we know that decision is the reason 34 families are without their loved ones,” she said.

Zondo accused Phiyega of being responsible for ensuring that the meeting was not disclosed to the commission. “She is responsible for ensuring the minutes of that meeting are still not disclosed to the public, till this day,” Zondo said.

Zondo further said the families were still concerned that Phiyega had praised the police for what was described as “best policing”, following the deaths of the miners.

She said the strong police involvement in the matter showed that there could have been greater forces involved, such as the influence of a politician.

“She had to tell us why she should not be held accountable. Phiyega is concealing some information, we want Phiyega prosecuted because we are struggling to find the truth. The national commissioner did not account to the country after 34 people had died,” she said.

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Zondo said the Marikana families, who had lost their loved ones, were still waiting for an apology. President Cyril Ramaphosa had expressed intentions of going to Marikana and apologising to the families, but has never delivered on his promise.

“They said if they don’t want to make an apology in one place, he can go to them separately. This, for them, is about acknowledgement. The challenge is that these people were killed with state resources – state resources were marshalled against them. In the case they brought against the minister of police, they asked for an apology,” Zondo said.

Judge Natvarlal Ranchod dismissed Phiyega’s attempt to set aside the findings by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Ian Farlam, which included that the police leadership had colluded to cover up what really happened at Marikana.

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