[Marxism] (Fwd) Lessons the South African police didn't learn from the Marikana massacre

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Dec 14 23:15:09 MST 2012

(A few other points that Mkhwanazi 
- who joined the old SA Police back in 1986 - apparently doesn't think 
need 'revising': "Don't shoot unarmed people dead, in their back, when 
they're fleeing from you." 
"Don't plant weapons on dead bodies 
to make it look like you were threatened before you murdered." "If 3000 
people are on a mountain nowhere near Lonmin property and not blocking 
anybody or anything,just leave them there 
<http://links.org.au/node/2999>." "Don't take orders from Lonmin's Cyril 
to break a strike and call it 'D-Day'." "Don't allow your leading 
on-the-scene official to suddenly become unavailable - even by phone - 
to attend a purely political event 
"Don't claim a massacre was 'appropriate force' 
and that 'maximum force' 
<http://mampoer.co.za/david-bruce/24-marikana>was justified." "In a 
tumultuous setting, don't cage people in with barbed wire 
<http://www.citypress.co.za/news/police-aggravated-marikana-situation/>." "Stop 
torturing people." 
"Stop intimidating people 
testifying to investigating commission." "Don't use the tactical 
response team, national intervention unit and special task force 
for crowd control." "Don't hire police video experts who are old-guard 
and don't send them to an investigating commission with utterly useless 
""Hire forensic investigators who know their job 
"Stop banning peaceful marches 
by women." "If your troops are guilty of murdering unarmed people who 
are fleeing, then they should becharged 
and investigated as soon as possible instead of being told they did'the 
right thing' <http://links.org.au/node/3002>." "Don't charge massacre 
survivors with murder under apartheid-era common purpose doctrine 
"Don't send police to a scene if they are irrationally hyped up with 
intent for revenge 
"Don't demonise 
victims." "Don't laugh and smile at video footage showing a massacre, 
especially if you are police commissioner." 
"For even an iota of credibility, don't let your prior police 
commissioners be corrupted by the mafia 
<http://mg.co.za/report/selebi-agliotti-and-kebble> andreal estate 
<http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2012/05/27/how-we-nailed-cele>, or 
let your head of crime intelligence loot a police slush fund 
Are there others?)

  Lessons Learned From Marikana - Police Expert

Rustenberg --- Weaknesses identified in the operation that resulted in 
the deaths of 34 striking miners at Marikana would provide lessons to 
help avoid similar failings in future operations, a police expert said 
on Friday.

Public order policing expert Brigadier Zephania Mkhwanazi was asked the 
previous day by commission chairman Ian Farlam to consider what lessons 
could be learned from the failed police operation on August 16.

On Friday he identified four points he believed should be revised.

"Operational commanders and overall commanders rely on tactical 
commanders to give information," he said.

In large operations, such as Marikana, breakdowns in this communication 
could occur.

"We need to work [on] that," Mkhwanazi said.

More "less lethal" weapons should be used, in case existing measures, 
including teargas, stun grenades and water cannons, failed.

"Always there will be a gap, [so] the best thing is to have more 
options," he said.

"If you fail with teargas, what else can we use?"

He also suggested that the operation did not adequately prepare members 
of the tactical response unit (TRT), as they were not issued with gasmasks.

"Checking visuals, SAPS move back because the TRT were not in possession 
of that kind of equipment and training."

Further research into international police agencies' non-lethal weapons 
should also be undertaken, Mkhwanazi said.

After the tea break on Friday, Mkhwanazi acknowledged that the Marikana 
operation could have been conducted at night when there were fewer 
protesters on the koppie near the Lonmin mine.

Procedurally, police would still have been obliged to warn protesters to 
disperse. In the event, this order was not given.

Mkhwanazi said that it was difficult to remove weapons from protesters 
at the hostels, prior to the shooting on August 16.

"It is important to know where firearms are kept... A hostel has a lot 
of rooms."

This step was intended to be the final stage of the operation to disarm 
protesters, which ultimately failed.

Mkhwanazi said he did not know why the hostel was not searched earlier.

He said police had not searched protesters who were on their way to the 
koppie, as this was not normal procedure in terms of the Regulation of 
Gatherings Act.

The three-member commission is holding public hearings at the Rustenburg 
Civic Centre. The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke 
Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on August 16 and 78 were 
wounded when the police opened fire on them while trying to disperse a 
group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two 
security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

President Jacob Zuma announced the commission in August. It must 
complete its work within four months.

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