Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nkandla side tracked

No Fear No Favour No Government Corruption and fraud......

Much has been said, fought and argued over the funding of the R250m Nkandla
Compound, and rightly so.  But what's received little attention is the
funding of the freeway set to run through Nkandla following the development
of the president's luxury compound.  This freeway is set to cost R1.5bn, so
this is no small chunk of change, so my broadband' s amateur, volunteer,
investigative journalists gave it a crack and uncovered what appears to be a
case of corruption on an arms deal scale.

Here's what we uncovered:

Claim #1 

Public Works claim that the freeway is being constructed by a private
company called Korong Capital Partners who will, following the road
development's end, donate the entire road to the government at no cost to
them.  Now that sounds incredible.

So incredible that it sounds almost too good to be true. 

That's because it is.

Debunking Korong Capital Partners appears to have been a dormant shell
company since 1999, and who's only director is Moeti Mpuru, who claims to
have secured the funding of R1.5bn for this project.  The problem with this
scenario is that Korong Capital Partners have no history of this sort of
work.  In fact, they have no history of any work whatsoever.

So they certainly couldn't have secured revenue of around R37bn to place
them in a position to fund this internally.  This would have made them the
most successful company in history (to put this into perspective, this would
equate to more than double Vodacom's 2011/2012 revenue, and Korong would
have achieved this in about a year of operations).  They couldn't have
raised this finance in the capital markets either because no financial
institution would originate and secure a bond for a company with zero
balance sheet strength and zero cash flow.  So the only other option is that
there was an angel investor involved, and this is the next claim:

Claim #2 

An angel investor is funding the entire project at no cost to government

Debunking Who was this angel investor?  Well the claim is that the cash
originated from the USA, through an attorney who is set to make $100,000.00
for simply arranging the transfer of the cash.  Apparently Mpuru, after
being turned down for a R1m loan to fund a small portion of the project,
managed in just a few months to secure R1.5bn in funding for a project that
will see absolutely no return on investment.  It is a straight R1.5bn loss
to whoever funds this project. 

And why is the donor not being made public?  What has he got to hide?

And who in their right mind would philanthropically fund a minor freeway in
SA through the president's home town?  It makes no financial sense, nor
logical sense.

So on to brass facts: Korong Capital Partners has its registered offices at
the following address:






So this company that apparently has R1.5bn spare to flush down the toilet,
or will be managing R1.5bn worth of angel investor cash, is situated at unit
2, Chianti Estate in Sunninghill, a residential complex that does not have
business rights for its units.  This is a tiny, 60sqm residential complex -
not an office park, or the premises you'd expect for a company with R1.5bn
to spend and manage.  Yet Public Works feel happy for this company to
complete this project on their behalf.  Ever wondered why?

So who owns Unit #2 at Chianti Estates?  None other than MBANJWA NQOBILE
ZINHLE (Zinhle Mbanjwa).  Who is Zinhle Mbanjwa?  He is the manager of the
Housing Development Agency of South Africa.  This is the governmental
department that oversees investments in housing related infrastructure on
behalf of the Human Settlements Department.

They also manage inter-departmental projects.  Why is Korong Capital
Partners' premises at the HDA manager's personal premises?  The answer to
that is simple - he owned the shelf CC from the outset.  This means that the
CC used to move the money around to pay for the Zuma freeway is in fact
located at the HDA manager's house and directed by the man who supposedly
secured the funding.  This makes no sense in terms of the government's
official statements that this is a private entity funding the project
through angel investment.  What this actually means is that the HDA more
than likely used the CC owned by their manager to move Human Settlements
money to Korong Capital Partners to fund the Zuma Freeway.  If this was an
angel investment, the investor would ensure that he had board representation
to ensure he had oversight over the use of his funds.

What does this mean?  Well it means that Zuma's compound is only the tip of
a very large iceberg.  The real corruption is worth in the region of about
R1.5bn, as it indicates that the HDA facilitated government cash (which is
what they do) to be moved to Korong Capital Partners to fund the Zuma
Freeway, and the government knowingly lied to the public about how the
project was being funded.  It indicates that behind the scenes, HDA, Public
Works and Human Settlements arranged a secretive transaction to spoof
legitimate business operations, when in fact they were simply trying to hide
their money-trail of corruption, knowing that using public money would cause
outrage among South African citizens.

None of this makes any sense in terms of the official story by the
government.  It makes perfect sense when you add a corruption element to the
mix though.  Public Works and Human Settlements found cash to fund this
project.  In order to hide this from the public, they engaged with the
manager of the Housing Development Agency, who are the middle-man for
inter-governmental transactions.

Together with a lawyer in the US, they siphoned cash out of the country to
make it appear as if the cash was from an angel investor, and would not be
subject to disclosure to the public.  They then moved the money to a CC
owned by the HDA manager called Korong Capital Partners who are now
officially funding the Zuma Freeway.

On the surface it seems like an extraordinarily unlikely investment - that
some unknown source of billions of dollars donated all of the funding
capital to a private company that coincidentally happens to be owned by the
HDA manager, to build a freeway through Jacob Zuma's Nkandla hometown, with
no oversight of the spending, no recourse whatsoever to the cash, no return
on investment, while remaining completely anonymous, and then with the
intention to hand the entire road over to Public Works upon completion.  And
that is because this is ridiculous.  It reminds me of the SANIP arrangement
with SAAB and BAE, where Fana Hlongwane received the bribe payments for the
arms deal.

What has happened however is that government appears to have attempted to
pull the wool over the eyes of its citizens, in anticipation of a backlash
for R1.5bn funding of the Zuma Freeway, by hiding cash in anentity they
thought would be safe from public scrutiny.  As it turns out, this wasn't
quite as private as they expected.

The crucial oversight was using a private CC owned by the HDA manager and
forgetting to remove his personal address from the company information
records, which are public.

So government has a lot to answer for here and we the public should demand
answers.  Not only does this appear to be corrupt to its very core, but the
spending at Nkandla is outrageous too.

See here for more details relating to how exorbitant the Nkandla spend is:


Public Works is currently involved in hundreds of projects around the
country, with their mandate being to spend on infrastructure and social
development.  With this in mind, their average allocation for each project
will be somewhere between 0.1% and 0.2% of budget (this is a very high
estimate in my opinion - they're probably spending less across more
projects).  Zuma's non-revenue-generating, unnecessary development that has
nothing to do with infrastructure nor social development equates to a 0.32%
allocation of the national public works budget.

This means that they've spent up to 224% more on Zuma's compound than on
their average spend on actual deliverable projects that meet their mandate.

If we include the freeway project, which I'm quite sure is just a dodgy
vehicle to protect Zuma from recourse, the figure jumps to 2172% more than
their average national infrastructure spend.  So instead of money going to
the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, to mitigate the impact on the
country, Public Works chose instead to over-spend on Zuma's home by up to
2000-odd percent.  What is clear is that Public Works consider Zuma's house
to be at least 224% more important than investment in infrastructure, which
is their actual mandate.

So if you want to do something about this and make your voice heard in
opposition to potential corruption, fraud, misuse of public funds and lies,
then send this out to media outlets, the public protector, your friends and
family etc.  It's high time this sort of presidentially-supported corruption
is put to bed, once and for all...





Thursday, August 28, 2014

Marikana Commission: Minister Shabangu can't act

No Fear No Favour No loose canons please..........

GREG NICOLSON   South Africa 26 August 2014 10:58 (SOUTH AFRICA)

In 2012, Susan Shabangu was Minister of Mineral Resources. Appearing at the Commission on Tuesday, the current Minister of Women was dismal. She was caught in her own contradictions, rarely made sense, and was hostile. Once again the state's actions to end the strike have been shown to be inadequate and an opportunity to avoid the massacre was missed. Shabangu, however, didn't roll on her co-accused and held firm that she didn't do anything illegal. By GREG NICOLSON.

On 21 August 2012, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu addressed Parliament on what happened at Marikana. She'd been to the area, tasked by President Zuma to discover what happened. “Having spent countless hours either in meetings or consultations with the affected parties, I have come to understand the events that started from a wildcat strike by approximately 3,000 rockdrillers on the 10th of August, a day after we celebrated our National Women’s Day,” she said. “That day is a bittersweet reminder that mothers lost sons, wives lost husbands and the whole nation lost some of the cream of our legendary endeavours underground. We have met with all stakeholders in the industry and it is clear that we will have to work together in tackling the many socio-economic challenges in the mining industry.”
All stakeholders. Shabangu appeared at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday and under cross-examination it was clear that her consultations were in fact limited. Speaking under oath, Shabangu was evasive and contradicted herself and other witnesses.
The minister, whose portfolio shifted after the elections, didn't meet the most important stakeholders: the workers and AMCU. She told the commission she had met Lonmin, the SAPS, Chamber of Mines, NUM and other affected unions. Pressed, she said AMCU was one of the unions she met. But under cross-examination from evidence leader Kameshni Pillay, she admitted she didn't meet AMCU or representatives of the striking workers in the days after the massacre.
Why? Shabangu offered a number of reasons. First, she said she'd never heard of AMCU before Marikana and didn't see it as a stakeholder in what was reported as a strike led by workers' committees. Chairman Ian Farlam was shocked. Media at the time reported Marikana as a dispute between NUM and AMCU. On 9 August, Shabangu was quoted in an article saying the dispute was between two unions. Furthermore, the 2012 Impala Platinum strike was characterised by the rivalry between AMCU and NUM and early in the Marikana strike the Chamber of Mines suggested the government meet both unions to talk. That she hadn't heard of AMCU was a lie at worst, a misunderstanding at best.
Then, Shabangu said AMCU wasn't engaged because it wasn't the majority union and it was too dangerous to meet the workers in the days after the massacre.
Multiple lawyers asked her why she wouldn't meet AMCU or workers' representatives, suggesting she was politically motivated. At a NUM meeting in 2013, she said the union, bleeding members, had to be defended because it's tied to the ANC. “If you attack workers in South Africa who contributed to the liberation movement of South Africa who are also members of the ANC, we see that as an attack on the ANC,” she said on Tuesday.
Speaking to NUM in 2013, she said, “You are under siege by forces determined to use every trick in the book to remove you from the face of the earth. (They want to make sure) that no progressive trade union will be permitted in the mining sector. It is only those who are wilfully blind who cannot see that the agenda is to defeat and drive the African National Congress from power and reverse the gains of the national democratic revolution.” Shabangu denied she was talking about AMCU and claimed it was Lonmin who was a threat to the NUM because of the history of companies trying to destroy unions, recent Lonmin retrenchments and incidents of racism she said occurred at the platinum company.
Mike van As, representing Lonmin, firmly put it to Shabangu that she was in fact talking about AMCU. Shabangu didn't mention a Lonmin assault on the NUM in her statement to the Commission nor in her evidence in chief. “I will never, ever, ever see a new union being a rival. It's always the employer who's the cause of tension,” Shabangu held firm.
Her views on AMCU are significant in explaining the state's intervention at Marikana and how it views the mineworkers. For Dali Mpofu, representing the injured and arrested mineworkers, it supports his theory that Lonmin pressured the government through Cyril Ramaphosa, a non-executive director at the company at the time, to use the police to forcefully break the strike so the company would not have to pay rockdrill operators high increases. He argues the motivation for Shabangu and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to protect the NUM and in turn the ANC from political opportunists made them push the police into action.
Crucially, Shabangu was quizzed about her discussions with Ramaphosa. Emails between Lonmin leaders and Ramaphosa showed he was determined to convince Shabangu to view the strike as a criminal rather than labour issue. On the morning of 15 August, Shabangu was on radio and said it was a labour dispute. Later that day, it was called a criminal matter. Ramaphosa has admitted it was his intention to get her to change the classification to save lives and he believes he succeeded. Shabangu however said she's “very independent” and wasn't influenced by Cyril – she claims she would have made the decision on her own anyway.
Mpofu accused her of lying. “I haven't lied,” Shabangu responded. Mpofu says the classification was important because if the matter was called criminal, the police could have cracked down and followed “shoot to kill” directives uttered by politicians over recent years. Then the strike would have been over and Lonmin could resume operations without having to pay the increases. “I haven't committed any criminal act,” Shabangu told him in a cross-examination that saw the two at odds.
During the minister's appearance, mineworkers in attendance left the Commission. While they may not have believed Shabangu's comments, they can celebrate the dropping of charges against the almost 300 mineworkers arrested on the day of the massacre, while only charges laid for violence after the 16th remain.
“I feel very happy because we had trouble with the case and had been going back to the courts all the time,” a mineworker who was arrested in 2012, but didn't want to be named until he appears at the Commission, told Daily Maverick last week. He spent 18 days in jail and experienced brutality, hunger and had his phone taken by police during his incarceration.
For these mineworkers and the relatives of the dead, justice is still elusive. Firstly, the strikers reported widespread brutality and torture when they were arrested. Multiple attempts to contact the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for an update on the torture claims and the investigation into the proportionality of force used on 16 August failed. None of the cops have been arrested, despite reports unarmed and surrendering strikers were killed. The Commission, meanwhile, is caught in a city of legalese and it remains doubtful criminal charges will be recommended in the final report. DM
Photo: Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu speaks about progress made to stop illegal mining with local residents of Matholesville informal settlement near Roodepoort on Thursday, 26 September 2013. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.









Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ANC vs. Public Protector: The Age of Combat begins

No fear No Favour No Disregard for our CONSTITUTION......

STEPHEN GROOTES  26 AUGUST 2014 00:48 (South Africa)

                                                             Rambo Zuma from Nkandla

Even by the standards of our rough, hurly-burly politics, the tit-for-tat statements from the Public Protector and the ANC on Monday were pretty brutal. At one point it even seemed that those in charge of their Twitter accounts were about to come to blows. Through the day there had been accusation, denial, counter-accusation - with a hefty dose of “you don’t respect the Constitution” from both sides. What is clear is that the battle brewing between Luthuli House and Advocate Thuli Madonsela has now broken into all-out warfare. The verbal push and shove is now moving into a full-scale bar fight. And, amazingly, Julius Malema hasn’t been involved in the slightest. By STEPHEN GROOTES.

As always with conflict, context matters. It’s important to know who threw the first punch. This all started on Sunday, when the ANC and the SACP attacked Madonsela, and her writing of a letter to President Jacob Zuma saying that he had not complied with her findings that he should repay a “reasonable contribution” to the government money spent on his Nkandla home. The publication of her letter in two major newspapers clearly irritated the ANC beyond measure. It was clear that for them, it’s Madonsela who is hell-bent on destroying democracy as we know it (just four days after claiming it was Julius Malema).
That Madonsela then felt the need to respond in full is also revealing. For someone as measured and boundaried as she appears to be, to hit back in public is an indication of how serious the stakes are. The ANC’s final statement on Sunday had been short, sharp and just four paragraphs long.
Madonsela’s reply was different. At two-and-a-half pages it was written in what almost amounts to legalese. There was a point-by-point refutation of the claims of the ANC. In other words, this was written by someone with a legal background. She herself is an advocate (more than that, really, considering she was a commissioner at the SA Law Reform Commission) who speaks in a certain way. That cadence absolutely came through in this written response. It seemed clear that this was written by her.
So it’s no surprise that perhaps the biggest “news angle” was kept for the second last paragraph, when Mandonsela said she had been “advised confidentially that it is a senior politician and member of the ruling party that leaked the confidential letter to the media” - conduct she considered “improper”. In other words, she did not leak the letter: it was someone on the other side.
This was what nearly lifted the roof off Luthuli House, and brought forth the wrath expressed in a furious ANC statement - that it was “outrageous and preposterous” for Madonsela to make this claim, plus a demand for her to name the person, a suggestion that her reports had leaked before, and that somehow this was all about public opinion.
Into this mess stepped, rather indelicately, Sunday Times investigative journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, one of the authors of that paper’s report on Madonsela’s Zuma letter:
@Spiwo @pietrampedi @Hofstatters @CaiphusK_11 @PublicProtector I said it before and will say it again the PP didn't leak the letter
It’s just a guess, but he seems to be suggesting that he certainly did not get the letter from Madonsela.
Just as there was time to contemplate that, the ANC’s Twitter account @MyANC_ started to tweet its statement. Which drew a rather angry response from @PublicProtector:
@MyANC_ you may tell a lie many times it will not turn into truth. The truth is your member leaked the letter. That's sad and dishonest.
Suddenly, we appeared to have a political war for public opinion playing out in real time. For possibly the first time in our history, we had statements going back and forth on Twitter. But before it could escalate further, it seems both sides retreated. Or bosses called their juniors in charge of the accounts, and told them to go to bed.
It is always tricky to uncover a leak, but usually you ask the question “who benefits”? In this case, considering the nation of conspiracy theorists we’ve become, you could believe that Madonsela leaked it because she was angry with Zuma’s non-response to her Nkandla findings. Or you could believe that actually someone in the ANC leaked it, because it would allow the party and its formations to attack her.
However, while the ANC has managed to make the question of who leaked the news agenda, it hasn’t provided a proper response to the other points made by Madonsela in her lengthy statement.
The real meat lies in her point that she has consistently said that she would write to Zuma’s office to ask if what he says is her response to her report, is in fact his response to her report. Because, as she points out, and this is where Zuma’s argument may get holed below the waterline, in his document he specifically states that it is “not a critique” of her report and it “offers no comment” on its contents.
In other words, she’s pointing out that it is Zuma himself who’s said that the document entitled “Report to the Speaker of the National Assembly Regarding the Security Upgrades of the Nkandla Private Residence of His Excellency Jacob G. Zuma” and signed by same, is in fact not his formal response.
From a logical point of view, that would seem to indicate that she is on pretty firm ground.
She goes further when she asks how on earth her writing this letter to Zuma undermines Parliament. Or in Madonselanese, “It is therefore unclear in what way her letter to the President has undermined Parliament or what exactly the letter has taken away from Parliament”. Later on she says: “Nowhere in the letter does she tell Parliament what to do”. Strip away the language, and she’s saying there is no basis on which anyone could claim she has over-stepped her powers.
While Luthuli House has been very vocal against Madonsela, the behaviour of its alliance partners is very revealing. The SACP once again confirmed its transition, from political party with an identity of its own, to Zuma-lobby group, by simply joining in the attack. General secretary Blade Nzimande claimed on Sunday that it was “hypocrisy of the worst order” to say that a Public Protector’s finding could not be challenged, pointing to the challenge mounted by DA leader Helen Zille on a finding several years ago. But that was in court. Which surely just leads to the question: why has Zuma not done the same here? Surely that would be the proper and reasonable response?
Really, if a party cannot even publicly object to the transfer of publicly owned roads to a private tolling company, surely it loses the right to use the word “communist” in its title.
COSATU has stayed very quiet. There was a tweet on Sunday night from its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, in which he also suggested that Zuma should either pay up, or go to court. You can imagine the damage this issue could do to the federation. It appears to still be split between those unions that support Zuma and those that don’t. Anyone bringing this issue up in a Central Executive Committee meeting would surely just be hastening COSATU’s demise.
On Thursday last week, the ANC released at least three statements condemning Malema’s conduct in Parliament. It has now released another volley of statements aimed at the Public Protector. The common denominator is, of course, Nkandla, and the conduct of Zuma himself. The party seems to be tying itself into knots trying to protect him.
Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if Zuma admitted he was wrong? Or have he and the ANC completely lost their souls? DM
Photo: Err, Rambo?







Saturday, August 23, 2014


The ConCourt will rule on whether amendments to legislation ensures the independence of the Hawks.

Hawks. Picture: Supplied

Barry Bateman
JOHANNESBURG – It's now up to the Constitutional Court to rule on whether amendments to legislation went far enough to ensure the independence of the Hawks and that the unit is free from political interference.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and businessman Hugh Glenister argued on Tuesday, to have an earlier High Court order approved.

The Western Cape High Court ruled in December that sections of an amendment bill were inconsistent with the Constitution but the government wants to appeal that order.

Advocate David Unterhalter, arguing for the Helen Suzman Foundation, says the police minister’s powers over the head of the Hawks were too broad and open to abuse.

He says an exercise of power without proper review is dangerous, adding that a process located in Parliament would guarantee a greater degree of oversight.

But advocate Kemp J Kemp for President Jacob Zuma says there are sufficient provisions in the amendment act curtailing such power.

He says the minister could only dismiss the head of the unit pending an inquiry chaired by a judge.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Editorial: Never forget Marikana - TAKE NO PRISONERS

No Fear No Favour No Prisoners......

Ranjeni Munusamy  South Africa 17 August 2014 11:39 (South Africa)

Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
If you are reading this, you are among the ever-smaller band of people who still read stories about Marikana in Daily Maverick. Most people prefer not to. Most people choose to think of the Marikana massacre as a terrible thing that happened to other people, a world away from their own lives. By turning away from their suffering, we perpetuate the prejudice against the people of Marikana. Just because those in power treat the people of Marikana like children of a lesser God, does not mean we should too. In the US city of Ferguson in Missouri, a state of emergency was declared this weekend as protests intensified over the killing of an unarmed teenager by a police officer. We know who Mike Brown is because his community is demanding justice. Why are WE not? By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

There are two points in the documentary Miners Shot Down when you can adopt false hope that everything will turn out all right, and that the horrendous events that shred the fabric of our fragile democracy might not in fact happen.
The first is when a group of the striking mineworkers are trying to return home on their way back from the Lonmin mine. They are confronted by an assembly of armed policemen. The leaders of the workers’ group take turns to plead with the police to let them pass through. North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe wants them to hand over their sticks and spears. They explain that they need them for protection and undertake to surrender them once they get safely to their destination. There are a few moments when they appear to find each other, and, as is human nature, it leads you to believe rationality will prevail.
Of course it does not.
The second point when you can mistakenly believe disaster can be avoided is when Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa addresses the mineworkers at the koppie the day before the massacre. He seemed to be the only person willing to talk to the workers like they are normal human beings. He gives them certain undertakings and they agree to disperse and meet again the next day.
Maybe it will be okay, your mind wills you to think. Again, of course, it is not.
Watch: Miners Shot Down, a film by Rehad Desai

The footage after both these key moments show the deliberate aggression of the police, for reasons they are yet to explain that makes any reasonable sense. The evidence presented to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry by police management, from National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega down the ranks to those in charge of the operation, shows acute contempt for the process of investigating why the workers were killed.
It follows a trend of government leaders shunning accountability for their actions, and showing disdain for the people they are meant to serve. The commission has dragged on for close to two years now and what is apparent is that it is being used as a platform to excuse and dodge responsibility for the use of maximum force by the state against civilians, rather than a mechanism to uncover the truth about events at Marikana in August 2012.
Last week, the highest-ranking political official to appear before the commission again brought to the fore the deadly nexus between Lonmin, the National Union of Mineworkers and the state. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s evidence showed the callous disregard for the plight of the workers and the reasons for their anger.
Two years later, not much has changed. The surviving mineworkers who were at the commission last week were enraged by Ramaphosa’s testimony and the fact that they live and work in exactly the same conditions that caused the uprising in 2012. And like in 2012, Ramaphosa did not acknowledge them or try to understand their frustration. He is no longer on the Lonmin board, so any gesture he made towards the workers need not have been a commitment to assist them. All it would have been was an act of human compassion.
The people of Marikana are desperate that the rest of the world recognises their suffering. The second anniversary of the massacre this weekend was again politicised, with the ANC and government failing to attend because they said they were not invited. Why were they not the ones organising the event? Why are the memorial events always the initiative of civil society and not the organisation which has always claimed to represent the hopes and aspirations of the poor and the disadvantaged in our society? Why does the democratic government that professes to be instrument of radical change keep distancing itself from the wretched of Marikana, forcing them to swallow their misery?
The event, like the one last year, became a platform for the state and the ruling to be bashed and accused of murder. There was nobody there to counter that message and explain whatever it is that government’s approach is. President Jacob Zuma issued a message saying the anniversary of the massacre was time for reflection. “We need to recommit ourselves to ensuring that violence is never again used to solve problems of any kind in our country,” he said.
That message did not reach Marikana on Saturday.
The ANC also issued a media statement saying it hoped the Marikana commission would soon conclude its business and “provide much needed answers to our country and the world on what transpired on those fateful days in Marikana”.
The ANC does not say why it is waiting for a judicial commission to conclude before it can reach out to a community that suffered horrendous violence and trauma.
The Marikana Commission, unlike the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is not there to help the families and heal the wounds of the victims. Until the families got to testify last week, it had been a legally heavy process with a mostly technical interrogation of the facts and evidence. If anything, there has been little attention given to the battery of emotions of the survivors and the victim’s families. Only now, two years later, the families of the dead, who went through hell themselves, starving and cold and harassed by the police, are being heard.
Have we lost our sense of humanity?
As Daily Maverick reported on 17 September 2012, a mere 30 days after the massacre:
After the police shot 112 miners on 16 August, killing 34 of them, the state of South Africa could have, should have, shown empathy and care for the people that everyone forgot for such a long time. Instead, they chose to let NGOs deliver food and care for the hungry and sick, while they opted for the delivery of teargas, rubber bullets and intimidation.
Make no mistake: what is happening today just a stone’s throw away from the blood-soaked field of Marikana, is nothing but a state repression. The government of South Africa decided that it was better for it to be feared than loved. What they achieved is something different: They are now hated. And a government that is hated by its own people has no credibility.
Nothing has changed since then.
This never-ending wait is just another indicator of the continuing agony of that community of Marikana, who wait for answers and for justice while the rest of the world continues on its way. What happens then if the commission finds that the 44 deaths were a result of multiple failures of all the players involved and stops there? What if at the end of this protracted process, still nobody is prosecuted and held accountable. Does our society simply move on as if it does not matter?
Does it in fact matter?
For the people of Ferguson in Missouri, it does matter. The shooting of a single person by a police officer, an unarmed teenage boy called Mike Brown, has set off rioting and looting. Defiance of a curfew has resulted in the governor declaring a state of emergency. It is not that their anger finding expression in violence is justified; it is that a single life taken by the police was significant enough for his community to rise up.
The violence in Ferguson prompted US President Barack Obama to make the following statement: “I’ve already tasked the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown. I made clear to the attorney general that we should do what is necessary to help determine exactly what happened and to see that justice is done.”
He went on to say: “I know emotions are raw right now in Ferguson, and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values and that includes the belief in equality under the law, respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protests.”
Similar statements may or may not have been made in the wake of the Marikana massacre. Perhaps a commitment to swift justice from the highest office may have made the difference here, instead of a prolonged process of buck passing and legal hide-and-seek would have helped the people of Marikana move on. Most significant in that statement though is whether we could ever consider ourselves as part of the same South African family as the people of Marikana. If we did, perhaps it would be easy to find our humanity and show compassion.
As Daily Maverick mentioned before, South Africans suffer these days from a serious scandal fatigue. Daily life is not easy for many, and there's not much time or energy left for a nationwide outburst of outrage. Sometimes the march of time dulls memory or somehow makes such crimes feel less horrendous. Today, South Africa is in danger of forgetting Marikana. While the populist politicians will continue using the horror for their own narrow political goals, the rest of the country will most likely go on with their lives.
The second anniversary of the Marikana massacre has passed, justice still seems far off and the community is still immersed in daily hurt and pain. Do the rest of us look away, exactly the preferred approach of all those who contributed to the carnage and would like South Africa to forget what happened that wintry day in August 2012? Or do we join/remain in the small but hopefully still significant chorus of those demanding justice for those who fell at Marikana and for the greater community of that godforsaken place?
What should the South African family do? DM
Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko