Marikana: DA wants politicians charged

iol news pic Marikana tragedy SAPS REUTERS Policemen keep watch over striking miners after they were shot outside Lonmin's Marikana. Picture taken August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/Files

Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said it welcomed the decision by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) to criminally charge suspended National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, and former North West Police Commissioner, Zukiswa Mbombo, for their roles in the 2012 Marikana tragedy in which police shot dead 34 striking miners.

Ipid acting head Israel Kgamanyane had earlier told Parliament’s portfolio committee on police that on September 8 last year, cases were registered against Phiyega and Mbombo.

Read: Phiyega faces criminal charges over Marikana

“They are being investigated for giving misleading testimony before the Farlam commission. He said Ipid has also opened cases of defeating the ends of justice against Brigadier Ledile Malahlela and Major General Ganasen Naidoo,” Kgamanyane told the portfolio committee.

The DA later said: “While we welcome this development, Riah Phiyega and Zukiswa Mbombo cannot be used as scapegoats for those who bore the ultimate political responsibility for the tragic events at Marikana. As such we will impress upon the SAPS (SA Police Service) to make recommendations to the minister of police, Nathi Nhleko, upon completion of their investigation in terms of section 207(2) of the Constitution”.

Read: ‘SAPS obstructing probe into Marikana’

In a statement issued Tuesday after the Ipid told Parliament about the charges, the DA said: “We will also write to the Acting Executive Director of the Ipid, Israel Kgamanyane, requesting that he make public internal investigation that informed these charges so we can satisfy ourselves that all matters/persons were considered in its internal probe”.

In the statement DA spokesperson on Police Zakhele Mbhele said: “We want a clear scope of each and every role player that was involved leading up to the Marikana massacre”.

“Key political figures responsible including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, former Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant cannot be let off the hook,” said Mbhele.

Read: Lessons to be drawn from Marikana

During the run-up to the deadly shootings that left 34 stiking mine workers dead, as many as 10 other people had been killed in the preceding days in violence related to the labour unrest at Lonmin mine in August 2012. Ramaphosa was a Lonmin director and major shareholder at the time of the deadly strikes on the platinum belt.

Responding to the the DA request, Ipid spokesperson Robbie Raburabu said: “Ipid has completed the investigation after receiving recommendation from the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. We will not issue out detailed information on the investigation”.

Raburabu said Ipid had handed over investigation dockets to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“We cannot put a time frame for the NPA because they have to go through our investigation and make their own decision. The NPA might come back to us at any time,” said Raburabu.

African News Agency

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