South Africa’s Marikana Massacre Inquiry Report Raises Buried Emotions

South Africa’s Marikana Massacre Inquiry Report Raises Buried Emotions

From The Guardian

The link between South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the bloodied bodies that came to lie on Marikana’s scorched earth during strikes over work conditions in 2012 may seem obvious to an onlooker.

Ramaphosa, a board member of Lonmin platinum mine where thousands were protesting in August 2012 – made phone calls that allegedly escalated the confrontation; sent emails reportedly calling for action to be taken against “these criminals”, whose crime was to seek a wage increase; and held secret meetings to get the government and police to “act in a more pointed way” to quell the unrest.

Thirty-four miners were killed during the strikes – the bloodiest massacre by South African security forces since the end of racial apartheid.

But for Judge Ian Farlam leading the investigation, to tie the massacre to the person holding the second highest post in government, Ramaphosa would have had to be standing behind the police line with a loudspeaker instructing the police to shoot at the striking Lonmin workers himself.

Farlam said in his 646-page report that the commission could not find “even on a prima facie basis that Mr Ramaphosa is guilty of the crimes he is alleged to have committed” despite hearing from lawyers, witnesses and observers how Ramaphosa’s interventions were “infested with a litany of conflicts of interest”.

“The commission is of the view that it cannot be said that Mr Ramaphosa was the ‘cause of the massacre’,” the report states.

For the injured and families of those who died, and those who continue to live in poverty and indignity at Marikana, there was always going to disappointment with the outcome of the commission, because they were looking for accountability at the highest level.

That was never going to happen.

What happened was the opposite. Over a thousand days since the deaths of 34 people not a single person is being held accountable. There is no justice or closure for a single life lost or family destroyed.

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