Editorial: Govt fails citizens on Marikana probe

Yesterday marked four years since 34 mineworkers were killed by police in South Africa’s deadliest labour dispute since the dawn of democracy.

It has been four years since our government and business leaders were exposed to have been unable to manage the eruption of anger brought by years of deepening economic inequality.

Four years since we watched in horror as some of our country’s most exploited workers stumbled around in a hail of bullets, as they took their last breath and died in the most dreadful way imaginable because they demanded more pay.

Yesterday marked the fourth year since families were torn, wives became widows, mothers lost their sons and children became fatherless because of a series of questionable decisions by those in power.

Yet a lengthy commission of inquiry and millions of rands later, no one has yet been held accountable for this devastating massacre.

Not the police who fired live ammunition into thousands of striking workers, nor national commissioner Riah Phiyega, who was ultimately responsible for what has now been labelled a “defective” crowd management plan by the police.

The then police minister, Nathi Mthethwa, has not been held accountable, nor has the president.

It is common knowledge that we live in a country where the wheels of justice are slow to turn, where so many ordinary citizens have lost faith in “the system” because too often those who commit the most atrocious crimes are not held to account.

Marikana is simply another example of this, only on a grander scale.

More than a year ago the Farlam Commission’s report was released and it recommended that the police be criminally investigated for their role in the shootings and that Phiyega’s fitness to hold office be probed.

Not only are these processes yet to be concluded, there appears to be no urgency to do so.

Such complacency, as well as the prevailing inhumane living conditions in Marikana four years later, only reinforce the reality of how our government continues to fail its most vulnerable citizens.

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