South Africa’s vice president absolved in massacre probe
Forty four people were killed at the Lonmin owned Marikana platinum mine in August 2012 after police opened fire on the striking miners.
President Jacob Zuma on Thursday released the long awaited Farlam Commission report on the violence that absolved his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa of culpability in the deaths but raised questions about the police boss’ suitability for office.
Zuma said the commission recommended a full investigation to be conducted by the prosecuting authority in the North West province to ascertain criminal liability on the part of police officers who were involved in the incidents at the scene.
One of the lawyers during hearings conducted by the commission had said Ramaphosa should be held responsible for the massacre for the role he allegedly played in getting the police to confront the miners.
Ramaphosa was a Lonmin board member during the killings, which police say were inevitable because the miners had become violent and a danger to public peace.
The commission said the accusations against the vice president were unfounded, Zuma said.
He said the commission also found that the government played no role in the decision by the police to confront the protestors on 16 August 2012.
Zuma appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to chair the commission probing the events that occurred from August 11 to 16, 2012 at the mine near Rustenburg.
During the hearings, some of the victims to came face to face with police management and heard what led to the brutal slaying.
Victims and relatives of the slain miners endured long days of hearings and often technical explanations from the police about the massacres.
It was supposed to be an opportunity for victims to tell their story of a brutal event that has scarred South Africa.
Opposition Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Miamane said questions should be asked whether the inquiry delivered justice to the victims and survivors.
Analysts said the report had brought some closure for some but it certainly opened old wounds for others.
After two years, oral evidence from 56 witnesses, the commission had transcripts running to almost 40,000 pages.
Zuma took several weeks studying the findings before he made them public.