The world may never know what really happened on the day of the Marikana Massacre. An inquiry was launched to probe the events leading up to that fateful day. Today, the police presented a ‘changed’ story at this inquiry. By the time the police opened fire on striking miners; ten people had already died during the protests of the week before. The police killed 34 more miners in just a few seconds on 16 August last year. The miners yielded weapons including sticks, axes and steel rods.
A report by the Mail and Guardian states that the police have been accused of offering a new version of events that is different to their earlier statements. At a hearing in Rustenburg, George Bizos SC of the Legal Resource Centre questioned the validity of the new version where the police say that they were dealing with two different groups of protesters with varying levels of violence.
According to Major General Charl Allandale, the police were more concerned about the smaller group of around 300 miners who, unlike their counterparts in the larger group, were “very aggressive” and “militant” in their approach. He explained that prior to the shooting; this smaller and troublesome group had been the subject of meetings between the police and Lonmin management. Major General Allandale was the man in charge of the special tactical operations team on the day the miners were shot by police.
Bizos asked why only one group was mentioned in earlier statements. Major General Allandale could not offer any further explanation besides that his colleagues would confirm this new version. This problematic group of protesters is said to have even dressed differently to the majority of the striking miners.
In a previous statement by Brigadier Adriaan Calitz of the operational response service in the North West, there was only one large group of protesters who acted in the same manner with the same intentions.
South Africa is a country that many believe is yet to find a permanent solution to corruption. Also, the police have been accused of using excessive force way before the days of Bheki Cele and the ‘shoot to kill’ motto. Faith in the police and government has taken several hard knocks. The Marikana Massacre inquiry is being followed closely by the country and rest of the world to see if there will be justice when the conclusion is delivered.