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  • The Marikana Massacre: four years on

    By admin | August 16, 2016

    Between 11-16 August 2012, 44 people were killed around the Marikana platinum mine, near Rustenburg, about 2 hours north-west of Johannesburg. 34 miners who had gone on strike were Read the rest of this entry »

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    August E-Update

    By admin | August 25, 2015

    Hello,

    Welcome to August’s issue of ACTSA’s E-update with a brief rundown on key issues from across southern Africa, in addition to a summary of what we’re getting up to at the moment.

    Hope you find it interesting and informative. Gives us feedback by emailing info@actsa.org

    News in brief

    Swaziland:  Unfair Trial, Arbitrary Detention and Judicial Impropriety in Swaziland Read the rest of this entry »

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    Statements on the Marikana Inquiry

    By admin | July 1, 2015

    National Union of Mineworkers Statement: http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=10588

    Lonmin mining company statement:  http://www.lonmin-farlam.com/

    Bench Marks Foundation statement:  http://www.bench-marks.org.za

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    Main findings and recommendations from the Marikana Inquiry

    By admin | July 1, 2015

    Marikana Commission of Inquiry, summary of main findings and recommendations:

     

    1. FINDINGS

     

    FINDINGS AGAINST LONMIN

    The Commission has found that Lonmin did not use its best endeavours to resolve the disputes that arose between itself and its workers who participated in the unprotected strike on the one hand and between the strikers and those workers who did not participate in the strike.

    It also did not respond appropriately to the threat of, and the outbreak of violence.

    Lonmin also failed to employ sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees.

    Lonmin also insisted that its employees who were not striking should come to work, despite the fact that it knew that it was not in a position to protect them from attacks by strikers.

    The Commission also criticized Lonmin’s implementation of undertakings with regards to the Social and Labour plans.

     

    FINDINGS AGAINST AMCU

    The Commission has found that officials of AMCU did not exercise effective control over AMCU members and supporters in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.

     

    They sang provocative songs and made inflammatory remarks, which tended to aggravate an already volatile situation.

     

    The Commission also noted that the President of AMCU, Mr Joseph Mathunjwa, did his best before the shootings to persuade the strikers to lay down their arms and leave the koppie.

     

    FINDINGS AGAINST NUM

    The National Union of Mineworkers did not exercise its best endeavours to resolve the dispute between itself and the strikers.

     

    The NUM wrongly advised Rock Drill Operators that no negotiations with Lonmin were possible until the end of the 2 year wage agreement.

    The union also did not take the initiative to persuade and enable Lonmin to speak to the workers.

    The NUM also failed to exercise effective control over its membership in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.

    It encouraged and assisted non-striking workers to go to the shafts in circumstances where there was a real danger that they would be killed or injured by armed strikers.

     

    FINDINGS AGAINST INDIVIDUAL STRIKERS

    Individual strikers and loose groupings of strikers promoted a situation of conflict and confrontation which gave rise, directly or indirectly, to the deaths of Lonmin’s security guards and non-striking workers, and endangered the lives of the non-striking workers who were not injured.

     

    FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF MR CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

    The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa is the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.

    The Commission has found that it cannot be said that Mr Ramaphosa was the cause of the massacre, and the accusations against him are groundless.

     

    FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF MINISTER NATHI MTHWETHWA

    The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Mr Mthethwa is the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.

    The Commission found that the Executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option on 16 August 2012, if the strikers did not lay down their arms, which led to the deaths of the 34 persons.

     

    FINDINGS IN RESPECT OF MINISTER SHABANGU

    The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons submitted that Minister Shabangu should be prosecuted on charges of corruption and perjury.

    No findings were made against Minister Shabangu.

     

    FINDINGS AGAINST THE POLICE

    In respect of the tragic incident of 16 August 2012, the Commission found that the Police drew up an operational plan which entailed the encirclement of a relatively small group of strikers, who would be in the koppie early in the morning.

    The strategy entailed encircling the strikers with barbed wire, and offering them an exit point through which they would need to move while handing over their weapons.

     

    This phase was only capable of being implemented early in the morning when there was a relatively small number of strikers. Attempts were also made to negotiate with the strikers by the police.

    The encirclement plan was replaced by the tactical option which was defective in a number of respects.

    The tactical option was implemented at about 15h40 on that day, resulting in the death of strikers in scene 1 and scene 2.

    The Commission found that the police operation should not have taken place on 16 August because of the defects in the plan.

    The Commission has found that it would have been impossible to disarm and disperse the strikers without significant bloodshed, on the afternoon of the 16th of August.

    The police should have waited until the following day, when the original encirclement plan, which was substantially risk free, could have been implemented.

    The Commission also found that the decision that the strikers would be forcibly removed from the koppie by the police on 16 August if they did not voluntarily lay down their arms, was not taken by the tactical commanders on the ground.

    The decision was instead taken by Lieutenant-General Mbombo, the North West Police Commissioner, and was endorsed by the SAPS leadership at an extraordinary session of the National Management Forum.

    The Commission also found that the operation should have been stopped after the shooting at scene 1 and that there was also a complete lack of command and control at scene 2.

    The Commission has also questioned the conduct of the police management during the inquiry.

    The Police leadership did not initially disclose to the Commission, the fact that the original plan was not capable of being implemented on the first date and that it had been abandoned.

    In addition, police leadership did not inform the Commission that the decision to go ahead with the tactical option, if the strikers did not voluntarily lay down their arms and disperse, was taken at the National Management Forum meeting on 15 August. Instead, they informed the Commission that this decision was taken on the 16th of August, and only after the situation had escalated.

    The Commission has also raised serious concern that there was a delay of about an hour in getting medical assistance to the strikers who were injured at scene 1, and asserts that at least one striker might have survived if he had been treated timeously.

     

    2. RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Commission recommends that Lonmin’s failure to comply with the housing obligations under the Social and Labour Plans should be drawn to the attention of the Department of Mineral Resources, which should take steps to enforce the performance of these obligations by Lonmin.

     

    The Commission has recommended that a Panel of Experts be appointed, comprising:

    • Senior officers of the Legal Department of the SAPS;

    • Senior Officers with extensive experience in Public Order Policing;

    And

    • Independent experts in Public Order Policing, both local and international, who have experience in dealing with crowds, armed with sharp weapons and firearms, as presently prevalent in the South African context.

     

    This panel should, amongst others:

    • Revise and amend all prescripts relevant to Public Order Policing;

    • Investigate the world’s best practices and measures available for use, without resorting to the use of weapons capable of automatic fire, where Public Order Policing methods are inadequate.

     

    In Public Order Policing situations, operational decisions must be made by an officer in overall command, with recent and relevant training, skills and experience in public order policing.

     

    All radio communications should be recorded and the recordings should be preserved.

    Plans for Public Order Policing operations should identify the means of communication which SAPS members will use to communicate with one another.

    A protocol should be developed and implemented for communication in large operations including alternative mechanisms, where the available radio system is such that it will not provide adequate means of communication.

    The SAPS should review the adequacy of the training of the members who use specialized equipment such as water cannons and video equipment.

    All SAPS helicopters should be equipped with functional video cameras.

    In operations where there is a high likelihood of the use of force, the plan should include the provision of adequate and speedy first aid to those who are injured.

    The commission also emphasizes that all police officers should be trained in basic first aid.

    There should be a clear protocol which states that SAPS members with first aid training, who are at the scene of an incident where first aid is required, should administer first aid.

    Specialist firearm officers should receive additional training in the basic first aid skill needed to deal with gunshot wounds.

     

    The Commission adds that the recommendations by the National Planning Commission, for the demilitarization and professionalizing of the SAPS, should be implemented as a matter of priority.

    With regards to accountability, where a police operation and its consequences have been controversial, requiring further investigation, the Minister and the National Commissioner should take care when making public statements or addressing members of the SAPS. They should not say anything which might have the effect of ‘closing the ranks’ or discourage members who are aware of inappropriate actions, from disclosing what they know.

    The standing orders should more clearly require a full audit trail and an adequate recording of police operations.

    The SAPS and its members should accept that they have a duty of public accountability and truth-telling, because they exercise force on behalf of all South Africans, the Commission states.

    The staffing and resourcing of the Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) should be reviewed to ensure that it is able to carry out its functions effectively.

     

    REFERRAL FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION IN TERMS OF SECTION 24(1) OF THE NPA ACT

    The Commission recommends a full investigation, under the direction of the Director of Public Prosecutions in North West, with a view to ascertaining criminal liability on the part of all members of the SAPS who were involved in the incidents at scene 1 and 2.

    For the purposes of the investigation, a team should be appointed, headed by a Senior State Advocate, together with independent experts in the reconstruction of crime scenes, expert ballistic and forensic pathologists practitioners and Senior Investigators from IPID, and any such further experts as may be necessary.

     

    REFERRAL FOR PROSECUTION

    The Commission also recommends that all the killings and assaults that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012, should be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, for further investigation and to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.

    The Commission states that the propensity in South Africa presently for the carrying of sharp instruments and firearms and the associated violence even in service delivery protests, requires the strict enforcement of the laws that prohibit such conduct.

    It pointed out that the Lonmin workers can be seen very clearly on videos and photographs in possession of dangerous weapons at the public gatherings or in public places.

    The Commission has thus called for a further investigation of offences, in terms of the Regulation of Gatherings Act and the Possession of Dangerous Weapons Act.

    The Commission has also recommended that there must be an inquiry into the fitness to hold office, of the National Police Commissioner as well as the North West Provincial Police Commissioner in terms of Section 9 of the South African

     

     

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    Marikana Inquiry Incomplete – A summary

    By admin | July 1, 2015

    Marikana – a terrible tragedy that should not have occurred.

    44 people were killed around the Marikana platinum mine about 2 and half hours north-west of Johannesburg between 11 –16 August 2012. 34 were killed by the South African police on the 16 August.

    The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has reported. It makes criticism of the police, Lonmin (the mining company that owned the mine), the striking miners and the trade unions.

    The terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry were, “to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, in the North West Province which took place on about Saturday 11 August to Thursday 16 August, 2012 which led to the deaths of approximately 44 people, more than 70 persons being injured, approximately 250 people being arrested.”

    Most criticism is directed at the police operation for the killings on the 16 August. The commission found that the police decided to move from an encirclement and containment plan, which in the Commission’s view could have been implemented without significant risk of loss of life on the morning of 16 August or the following day to a plan to demand the striking miners disarm and if not force would be used which would inevitably lead to bloodshed. The Commission also severely criticised the police for not ceasing shooting at scene 1 where 16 people were killed and that at scene 2 where 17 people were killed there was a, “complete lack of control and command”.

    The Commission recommends a full investigation to ascertain criminal liability on the part of all members of the South Africa police who were involved in the incidents at scene 1 and 2.

     

    The Commission recommends that there be further investigation into all the killings and assaults that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012 to determine whether there is a basis for prosecution.

     

    The Commission recommended that there must be an inquiry into the fitness to hold office, of the National Police Commissioner as well as the North West Provincial Police Commissioner.

     

    The Commission found that the Executive played no role in the decision of the police to implement the tactical option on 16 August 2012, if the strikers did not lay down their arms, which led to the deaths of the 34 persons.

     

    The Commission is critical of the conduct of Lonmin for its failure for not doing more to resolve the dispute, not doing more to ensure the safety of employees, not responding effectively to the threat and outbreak of violence and failure to implement social undertakings it had committed to do.

     

    The Commission criticised the conduct the trade unions for not doing more to reduce tensions and conflict between workers.

     

    The Marikana Commission of Inquiry did not however consider the wider context in which Marikana occurred.

     

    The Commission recognises that the catalyst for the dispute was the decision of management at another platinum mine owned by Impala Platinum to unilaterally go beyond a three wage deal and pay some workers more. This led to resentment by workers at that mine and then at other mines that they were not getting an increase. It put the National Union of Mineworkers in a difficult position. It thought it had negotiated the best deal possible but then some workers they represented got an increase. The unilateral breaking of the three wage deal weakened their credibility and to some their legitimacy.

     

    …” the tragic events at Marikana are rooted in widespread labour disputes in the area, particularly, at Lonmin‟ s Karee mine and at the nearby Impala Platinum Mine („Implats‟) which were characterized by violence, intimidation and loss of life and the undermining of agreed collective bargaining processes;” Marikana Commission of Inquiry

     

    Why does the platinum sector have negotiation mine by mine whereas wage negotiations for gold mining is across the sector? In whose interests was mine by mine negotiation?

    Why 20 years after South Africa’s first democratic elections are conditions for many miners, most of whom are migrants still so poor?

    These are questions the Marikana Commission of Inquiry did not address. It was not in their terms of reference and they have interpreted their terms of reference quite narrowly. What was required was a shorter but thorough inquiry about what actually happened and as far as possible why and who is responsible for the events between 9 and 16 August and a broader inquiry into the mining industry which is what COSATU, the trade union federation called for.

     

    Why are many migrant workers still living in terrible conditions? Why is the industry still based around migrant labour who are away from their families and homes for 11 months a year and therefore many develop, acquire two families/homes? Why in disputes in South Africa is there the willingness to use force, sometimes and terribly and overwhelming in the case of Marikana lethal force by the police and by protesters. Why are a number of corporate social responsibility projects about PR  and not substantial and lasting improvements? What is needed to bring about transformation of the mining industry so it treats its workers more fairly and ensures benefits also flow to the communities and areas the mines are located? Has the mining industry changed in the three years since Marikana? Has policing of protests? Do protesters behave differently?

     

    Those who recklessly and needlessly caused and contributed to the deaths of 44 people in and around Marikana between 9 -16 August by their actions and in-actions should face justice. But as well as individuals there is the need to address systemic weaknesses and failures in and across the mining industry, in policing and by those engaging in labour and community protests.

     

     

     

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    South Africa: 20 Years of Freedom

    By Tony | April 26, 2014

    South Africa marks 20 years as a democratic country in 2014. 27 April is Freedom Day, the anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections.

    What has happened? What has been achieved? What are the key challenges South Africa faces?

    This new briefing paper from ACTSA to mark the anniversary provides Read the rest of this entry »

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    South Africa: Nine gold miners trapped after fire in mine

    By admin | February 5, 2014

    Source: BBC

    Rescue workers in South Africa are trying to free nine miners still trapped underground after a fire at Doornkop mine west of Johannesburg.

    Eight other miners have successfully been brought to the surface, the mine owners Harmony Gold said.

    “Efforts continue to establish the whereabouts of a further Read the rest of this entry »

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    South Africa: Platinum Mining – Strike continues but also low level talks

    By Tony | January 27, 2014

    Most of the platinum mines in the South Africa are silent for the fourth day as a strike called by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) enters its fifth day. However, what are described as low level talks have begun. An estimated 70,000 workers are on strike. AMCU which has become Read the rest of this entry »

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    Marikana: Lonmin, British shareholders, including churches and trade union, press the company on its conduct

    By Mark | November 23, 2013

    Source: Observer

    Church seeks answers over South African mine massacre

    British shareholders, including union Unison, express concern over handling of strike that left 34 dead

    Maeve McClenaghan

    British shareholders in the platinum mine company, Lonmin, including trade union Unison and the Church of England, have expressed concern about its handling of a strike that ended in a massacre in South Africa.

    Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found close co-operation between the Read the rest of this entry »

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    Marikana one year on

    By Tony | August 15, 2013

    The 16 August marks the first anniversary of the massacre at the Marikana platinum mine near Rustenburg, north west of Johannesburg, when 34 people ( most were striking and protesting miners) were killed by the South African police.  Read the rest of this entry »

    Topics: News from ACTSA | 5 Comments »

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