EDITORIAL | Nine years is far too long to wait for Marikana justice
If, after all this time, the Farlam inquiry’s findings haven’t been acted on, what hope is there for the Zondo probe?
When President Cyril Ramaphosa took his seat to testify before the state capture commission of inquiry last Wednesday, few would have remembered it was seven years to the day since he had testified before another commission of inquiry. On August 11 2014, Ramaphosa, then deputy president of the country, took his seat before retired judge Ian Farlam, who was chairing an inquiry into the gunning down of 34 miners. They had been on a wildcat strike at the Lonmin-owned platinum mine in the Rustenburg area in North West. Its low-key anniversary was on Monday, nine years after the bloodbath, and the few tangible outcomes from the Farlam commission of inquiry do not inspire confidence.
Farlam found in his report that the mining company, the police and mining unions were to blame for the worst police killing since the end of apartheid. The investigation took nearly three years to complete, the inquiry cost more than R150m (a drop in the ocean compared to the three-year-long state capture inquiry’s R1bn) and the report was 600 pages long. It absolved Ramaphosa, who was a non-executive director at Lonmin during talks to resolve the strike. He was accused of using his influence to trigger the deadly police action.
The Farlam commission recommended that SA’s public order policing policies be revised and the world’s best practices for crowd control be investigated, “without resorting to the use of weapons capable of automatic fire”. Yet today our police force is still notoriously hopeless at crowd control, the deadly riots that hit Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July being the most recent example...