Marikana: A cover-up for all to see
- Greg Marinovich
- 06 Nov 2012 07:50 (South Africa)
The Farlam Commission continues to be the vehicle for revealing the most shocking information about what happened at the place called Small Koppie on 16 August.
On Monday, Captain Jeremiah Apollo Mohlaki, crime scene investigator, was presented with two sets of images taken at the scene. The first set was taken while there was still daylight and showed the dead miners, few of whom had weapons near them. The commission then presented corresponding images of the same miners with traditional and hand-made weapons close by, even on top of the dead strikers.
One really does not need Mohlaki’s own admission - and that of the police counsel Ishmael Semenya – to understand that the police had doctored the crime. The police at the scene were trying to make their claim of self-defence plausible. One understands this behaviour, inasmuch as any perpetrator will lie about their crimes.
Yet here we have an expert whose job is to gather evidence for prosecution apparently going along with this subversion of justice. Why?
It is clear from the records of the day that senior officers, including Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, were at Marikana through most the day of the 16th. It is inconceivable that these same officers – from the generals down – were not at the site of Small Koppie before the sun has set on that bloodiest of days. They must have seen the Scene 2, or had other high-ranking brother officers report to them on it, before the tampering.
During the nine-day bosberaad or indaba held in Potchefstroom to plan the police submission to the commission, these same high ranking officers would have watched the before-and-after footage. They would have been aware of how the scene looked before those dangerous weapons were so evocatively placed – if not first hand, then from both the police stills and the video footage. There would have been frank discussions about what happened that day.
Did these top cops then say, “Hey okes, bafana, magents, this is wrong, you are subverting the justice we are sworn to uphold?”
It appears that the nine days were spent, at the taxpayers’ cost, planning a strategy to extricate the police from culpability for what they had done at Marikana. It might have been here that they decided to try to intimidate witnesses by arresting and torturing them. If not, then why have the revelations of this brutality not seen any of the officers who tortured the miners arrested for assault?
The commission heard from the police that Phiyega became aware that the crime scene might have been tampered with two weeks ago and had launched an investigation. Two weeks and five days ago Riah Phiyega was laughing and joking during the hearings as footage of police killing miners was shown.
So when we hear the phrase “two weeks” out of the police counsel’s mouth, is that perhaps a little over two weeks? What does a newly appointed civilian with a business reputation have to gain by abetting police crimes and cover-ups? Who is she beholden to – the police or the country?
And then there is the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the cops who are there to monitor the cops, the people who protect us from the rotten apples. They were called, apparently, to Marikana that same day. When exactly did they arrive on the scene? Their investigation included taking statements from wounded and arrested miners who were eyewitnesses to what happened, as well as from the policemen whose weapons fired the bullets that killed those men. IPID has access to all the evidence – including those before and after images at Small Koppie. They must have been aware – for months – of how police were trying to cover up the crime scene.
Why were those police officers not suspended while the investigations continued? Why have the superiors in charge not been suspended?
As far as we are aware, there is no reason for justice to be put on hold while the commission is in progress. Indeed, the police and National Prosecuting Authority have most definitely not been sitting on their hands, if the wave of arrests and court appearances of miners is anything to go by. In fact, some of those hands have been pretty busy, beating miners in custody.
Yet IPID did nothing. (Or at least nothing we as Joe Public can see.) What we see is that police are a law unto themselves. That they – and their political bosses – are above any rules and regulations; they are above South Africa’s Constitution.
The message is crystal clear: our government will back the boys and girls in blue above any constitutional rights of our citizens. The police will quell any popular movement by the underclass that threatens the interests of the political, labour or business elite.
The police are acting with impunity. Their political masters are acting with impunity.
In the South Africa of 2012, if you are poor and without political clout, you are on your own. DM
- Marikana: Don’t touch Lonmin on its Bermuda
- In pictures: The People’s Climate March, New York
- Marikana Commission: Lonmin under a scorching spotlight
- Marikana: When comrades clash, it is the truth that suffers
- Marikana Commission: When ‘warning shots’ kill and wound
- Marikana massacre: The first of Lonmin’s voices are heard
- Marikana Commission: All for naught?
- Marikana Commission: Man and his truth – a story of the policeman who was not afraid
- Will Marikana’s Mr X be a game changer?
- Rape as spectacle, rape as genocide: Notes from Rwanda, 1995
- In photos: The prison of the Rwandan Génocidaires
- The Shell House Massacre: Another piece of the bloody puzzle emerges
- The Truth Elusive: Shell House massacre, 20 years later
- Farlam Commission: More Marikana massacre secrets and lies
- Marikana Commission: The long game reveals itself
- The law, poker and service delivery protests: Up close with Charles Nesson, Messianic US lawman
- Molhem Barakat: Death of a teenage lensman raises ethical concerns of war photography
- Makgabeng: Limpopo's ancient protest art
- Marikana, one year later: the hell above and below ground
- The truth, endangered: Miners' representatives withdraw from Farlam Commission
- As Farlam returns, the truth about the massacre remains a distant, perhaps impossible goal
- Africa’s photojournalists: The wars are not over
- Mandela & me: A journey of uncertainty and perception in the shadow of a legend
- NUM, AMCU, Marikana: ‘Tis the Season to be Bloody
- Thank you, Guptas
- Conflict of Interest, Inc: Mining unions' leaders were representing their members while in corporations' pay
- Chechnya, a story written in blood and tears
- Marikana Commission: Under oath, Phiyega’s bald-faced lie exposed
- A new week, a new town, a new police brutality video
- Marikana aftermath: As the Commission plays on, there's still no equality before the law
- Truth & lies: The saga of the Marikana massacre continues
- Bucket toilets: The lingering shame of Mangaung
- Sebokeng: The lessons of 1984
- Marikana: A cover-up for all to see
- Marikana: Police torturing their way to intimidation
- War: Cosatu vs Amplats strikers. Battlefield: Rustenburg.
- 25 October 2012: A day of reckoning at Marikana
- Alf Kumalo, Alfie, Bra Alf; an appreciation
- Marikana: After wave of arrests, miners to return to strike
- Friendship forged in the depths of the earth and strengthened by the horror of Marikana
- Marikana murders: The world now believes
- The murder fields of Marikana. The cold murder fields of Marikana.
- Marikana's Small Koppie: 14 dead, 300 metres away from Wonderkop. Why?
- Marikana: The investigation's integrity compromised as Small Koppie's crime scene defaced
- Marikana: Tide is turning against police as miners lay charge of torture
- Far away from murder fields of Marikana, a funeral
- Reporter's notebook: Wonderkop, Marikana, Friday 17th
- Beyond the chaos at Marikana: The search for the real issues
- Humanity on the march: Pity the Martian
- The slippery slope of the appliance militia
- Calligraffiti: eL Seed of an idea
- Love, sex and the fear of a small woman, Zanele Muholi
- TedxMogadishu and its spiritual predecessor, Elman the Electrician
- War photographer extraordinaire, departed
- Of family & the new iPad
- Joseph Kony, the world's Monster-in-Chief
- Journalists and conflict, a reflection
- My friend, Joao Silva, the best war photographer in the world