What were we supposed to do, police ask

2012-08-16 23:00

Johannesburg - Police at Lonmin's mine in Marikana in the North West did their best in a volatile situation, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's office said in a statement on Thursday.

"The minister [Mthetwa] is now considering requesting the president to institute a full inquiry into this whole situation, not just around what happened today but holistically at this situation," said spokesperson Zweli Mnisi.

"Now what should police do in such situations when clearly what they are faced with are armed and hardcore criminals who murder police?"

A shoot-out between police and strikers at the mine left at least 18 people dead or wounded on Thursday.

Police sought to disperse the armed workers who had gathered on a hill, in the area that had already seen 10 deaths in violent protests the past week.

After a call for the miners to disarm themselves, the group - singing and hitting their spears against pangas - starting moving down the hill to a nearby informal settlement.

Mnisi said police initially tried to peacefully disperse the crowd, to the point of even using water cannons and teargas, but this did not help.

Such efforts were countered with the murder of police officers, he said.

The workers started running in different directions, some heading for the open veld and others toward the informal settlement.

A Sapa reporter on the scene said gunshots could be heard from the police, which lasted for three minutes.

Police on the scene said workers shot at them first before they opened fire.

"We had a situation where people who were armed to the teeth, attacked and killed others even police officers and, for the record, one of the firearms used was that of our deceased police officer."

The behaviour of those who were involved in such criminal activity was condemned, with it disguised under the banner of a right to illegally protest, accompanied by violence.

Chanting could be heard from an informal settlement near the mine on Thursday evening.

It was not clear if the group, who were singing liberation songs, were armed, but police were keeping watch.


Mnisi confirmed to AFP that there was "loss of lives", but added authorities were still determining the extent of the casualties.

"Investigations are underway but yes, there were loss of lives," he said in an SMS.

Health officicals were also tight-lipped on a possible death toll.

Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said he was reviewing a report on the casualties and would comment later.

Netcare911 spokesperson Jeffrey Wicks confirmed that their paramedics were at the scene, but declined to comment further, citing patient confidentiality as well as an agreement with the SA Police Service.

"It also runs in conjunction with our agreement with the SA Police Service that we do not comment on acts of crime," Wicks said.

Mnisi called for restraint and that if demands needed to be raised with whoever, that it be done within the framework and respect for the Constitution.

The ministry offered their condolences to the families of the deceased and a speedy recovery to the injured.

"What happened today at Lonmin is something that was unfortunate and should not have happened in post democracy South Africa because to protest is a legal and constitutional right of any citizen."

However, such rights did not imply people should be barbaric, intimidatory and hold illegal gatherings, said Mnisi.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega was travelling to the scene of the incident.

Meanwhile, Lonmin are treating developments at the mine with the utmost seriousness, the company's chairperson said in a statement.

"The South African Police Service have been in charge of public order and safety on the ground since the violence between competing labour factions erupted over the weekend," said chairperson Roger Phillimore.

"It goes without saying that we deeply regret the further loss of life in what is clearly a public order rather than labour relations associated matter."

Senseless violence

President Jacob Zuma was alarmed and deeply saddened at the way the dispute had degenerated to lead to the tragic loss of so many lives, the presidency said in a statement.

"We are shocked and dismayed at this senseless violence. We believe there is enough space in our democratic order for any dispute to be resolved through dialogue without any breaches of the law or violence," Zuma said.

"We call upon the labour movement and business to work with government to arrest the situation before it deteriorates any further."

Zuma said he had instructed law enforcement agencies to do everything possible to bring the situation under control and to bring the perpetrators of violence to book.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families of all who have lost their lives since the beginning of this violent action,'' Zuma said.

Political parties echoed the president's sentiments, calling for for an urgent investigation into the shootings at the Lonmin mine in Marikana in the North West on Thursday.

African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said it needed to be determined who had caused the confrontation between police and striking miners.

Mthembu said the ANC was shocked about what happened.

"All of us feel very saddened by the violence we have seen on television," he said.

"We are requesting that our government hold an inquiry on what happened today so that all of us South Africans can come to a conclusion on who is responsible."

A shoot-out between police and strikers at the mine left at least 18 people dead or wounded on Thursday.

Mthembu said: "These illegal strikers have been violent since day one."

"However, we are not here to blame any party in this confrontation because we don't have any information."

The ANC agreed that workers should fight for their rights but not at the expense of people's lives.

"We deplore the killing and murders of police and miners."

Mthembu said the mine's management and the unions, which operated on the mine, had to resolve the matter as soon as possible.

"We are appealing to both sides... so that we don't have a repeat of what happened today. These issues cannot be resolved by the police," he said.

Brewing tensions

The Inkatha Freedom Party said the shooting highlighted the brewing tensions within South African society and should not be underestimated.

"Its horror should not only shock us but bring to the fore how too often conflicts in this country are dealt with through violence," IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said in a statement.

"Unless there is a fundamental change of culture at the highest level of government things will worsen."

He said leaders should no longer tolerate anyone who threatened violence because eventually tolerance of such behaviour materialised tragedies like the one at Lonmin.

"We call on the president to order a for full, expedited and independent investigation of whether police action was justified, proportional and necessary under the circumstances."

The Democratic Alliance said it was shocked and appalled by what had happened at the mine.

"We call on union leaders, the police and everyone else involved to immediately work towards a de-escalation of the conflict," the party said in a statement.

"All action must be taken to avoid further bloodshed."

The DA said an urgent independent investigation was required to determine what happened and who was responsible.

"The families of everyone involved, and indeed the nation, deserve to know how and why this bloodshed occurred," it said.

Cosatu claimed that the violence was being orchestrated.

"Broadly we believe there is an orchestration, a planned violence, because the violence that people are seeing today has been going on since January," said general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

"Scores of people have been killed and systematically targeted. Someone is behind it. We can't put our finger on it, but someone is orchestrating that violence."

Vavi said Cosatu was extremely concerned about the loss of so many lives.

The trade union federation hoped the matter would be resolved through the intervention of the leadership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

"We are aware NUM has been trying to convince workers to stop violence and intimidation," he said.

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  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-08-16 23:06

    What the media fail to report on is that the two police officers killed this week were hacked to death with pangas and axes and that a 3rd officer is still fighting for his life in hospital.So investigate that first before they start with their blame games. The police fired teargas and then used a water cannon to disperse the strikers, who then retaliated by firing live ammunition at the police.So the miners started shooting live bullets at police.That's why the police fired back.

      lownabester - 2012-08-17 00:13

      And this could have been stopped if only the unions were not so greedy, they should take full responsibality.

      paul.anthony.dawson - 2012-08-17 01:03

      Sad. Tragic. Awful. :-(

      paul.anthony.dawson - 2012-08-17 01:25

      Lonmin have 25 000 employees. Their 2011 annual employee costs (including pensions, shares and social security) was to $796m / R6.5 Billion. This equates to R253 000 per employee. Their miners were asking for a monthly salary of R12 500. Lonmins profit for the year was $321m / R2.6 Billion which was a 260% increase from 2010. Who's the real criminal? Stop the slave labor!

      dee.980 - 2012-08-17 02:04

      I agree Paul. The disparity between corporate and govt fat cats vs workers earning is too big. Zuma accepted with alacrity his ?5.5% increase which equals >R200 000 pa, whilst municipal workers 6% probably translates to a few R100's per month which hardly fills a food trolley. The entire culture of self enrichment of a few at the expense of the poorest has to change - from the very top presidential post down.

      ryan.wolf.50999 - 2012-08-17 02:16

      @sean ! 100% Police did what they have to do !! Tragic ?? Nope !! Good Job Saps !

      michael.taylorw - 2012-08-17 03:22

      SA is an international embarrassment. Look at the picture of these savages:

      wwrer.ww - 2012-08-17 06:32

      Next time the police should organize 20 - 30 fire trucks with water cannons to disperse the crowd.

      marc.rule - 2012-08-17 07:13

      To hell with using teargas and a water cannon start to use buckshot they will find out fast that the police means business

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 07:27

      This was nothing short of a politically motivated mutiny, under the disguise of a strike, inspired by idiotic pro-nationalisation demagogues. The workers seemed well prepared for confrontation, the police are not to blame, the workers, the unions & the ANCYL are to blame, & ultimately the ANC is to blame for allowing this kind of political situation to arise in the first place. The irony of all this is that all miners jobs are not in jeopardy, starting with those that work (worked) at Lonmin. The news coverage was pathetic, e-news in particular who failed to explain the complexity of the situation, failed to answer basic questions, failed to explain the past 6 days of events & essentially made it look like the police were solely to blame.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 07:40

      Maybe the numbers that you have cut & paste from an article are right Paul, BUT 1) the workers demanded 100% pay increase nothing less, is this reasonable?, is this how one strikes?, 2) they brutally murderd 2 police officers & critically injured another, 3) they were armed to the teeth with guns & machetes which they happily used on the police officers, 3) they absoluetly refused to disperse after 6 days of an illegal armed gathering, 4) they charged\attached the police officers (which the media incredibly failed to mention), sorry, this is not the work of some poor mineworkers that are fairly striking, this was a politically motivated act of aggression driven by rhetoric vomited by ANCYL demagogues on political platforms, add to this the selfish militant unions that are fighting a greedy turf war at the expense of the countries mining future, are you aware that 10 years ago, SA had a mining export market share of 20% ??, this is now only 5 % & soon these mines will be gone.

      justin.hemming.94 - 2012-08-17 07:52

      @Paul Dawson. How can a mine worker earn R12,500. Imagine if that became the standard for a basic wage in this country? Investment would disappear, mines would close and the economy would fail. Our base labour rate is still way higher than neighboring african countries, India and China. Let's be realistic here. Mining is a tough game. Maybe an incentive bonus when they have a good year - but R12,500 per month! My wife is a nursing sister with 25 years experience, and she earns way less than that. The unions are f'ing this country up, and our police force are just as bad - bottom line is this one rests purely on the shoulders of government. I hope Zuma and co are sleeping well tonight... - 2012-08-17 08:41

      What is truly sad is the fact that there will more than likely be a State-sponsored mass funeral, paid out of MY tax money... Fuggem...

      p.borchard - 2012-08-17 09:15

      Yes it was brutal, but the illegal strikers were begging for this type of reaction. Just strange that their hokus pokus magic water and whatever else provided by their witchdoctors could not protect them. But still they will believe in that crap next time around.

      Rudolf - 2012-08-17 09:24

      The only 'shocking' thing is that- with the amount of saps "firepower" clearly available, that they didn't kill more storming attackers...

      dexter.morganson - 2012-08-17 09:31

      @Justin Hemming...So effectively what you are saying is; The amount of foreign investment into this country is directly proportional to the poverty of the working class? The less money they get, the more investments the country will get? Who then benefits from that investments(and so-called job creation) if the working class MUST (For the sake of investments) be underpaid?

  • Gideon - 2012-08-16 23:11

    You did your jobs. It wasn't easy, it was ugly, and it will leave deep scars for years to come...but you did your duty today: protecting innocent citizens and eforcing law and order.

      dave.prinsloo - 2012-08-17 00:23

      shooting 18 people is not protecting the innocent, it's being a trigger-happy loon. Pathetic policing led to this massacre. Stupid pigs

      ryan.wolf.50999 - 2012-08-17 02:18

      @dave - Why don`t you go stand in the frontline ?? Hallo , wake the f@ck up !!

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-08-17 03:35

      @ Dave.....I agree you should go stand in the front line....may change your stupid perspective a bit!!!!

      mark.barker.370 - 2012-08-17 04:49

      Idiot - this is a result of poorly trained police. If we had a merit based force that was properly trained none of this would have happened.

      jerry.mot - 2012-08-17 05:01

      dave you are wrong. if reports are accurate and the miners shot at the police first, what do you want the police to do? just sit there and take it? if you shoot at the police and they shoot back at you, you have no room to complain.

      tuzka - 2012-08-17 06:50

      Excuse me @dave why do the protestors need guns in the first place? It is to do more harm than good, but then they want a raise? People that turned into animals must not be granted anything. I say if they have a gun the police have the right to shoot before they or any other innocent person gets hurt again!

      jo.barton.92 - 2012-08-17 07:15

      Why did they carry weapons when striking?Firstly they used it to intimidate other employees who would not go on strike, then they made violent threats against their employers.They were asked to be calm and peaceful and they did not listen.They shot at police first and the police were within their rights to shoot back.They are not always right but this time, I will side with them.

      Matthew - 2012-08-17 08:30

      to the guys commenting and calling the Cops pigs and etc Read the first comment again please. The crowd OPENED fire on the police!!! killing two!!! the 3rd in hospital fighting for his/her life!!! Not to mention that not only were the first 2 killed,but hacked into peices. How thick are you that,you defend these barbarians and what THEY initiated?! morons

  • daleinn - 2012-08-16 23:18

    Using the police or the army would have yielded the same result! We need more army personal plus police and sniper intervention ,to surround and disarm groups of 3000 and more. The police were justified to act, the life of a protestor is just as important as the life of a policeman, no one deserved to die, no one is above the law, whihc must take its course, and in this case the protestors portrayed behavior of intimidation and use of excessive force. The lesson to be learnt from here... protests must be peacful and within the law. No protests should promote the carrying of any sort of weapons, period!!!

      mofstok - 2012-08-16 23:20

      I hope that lesson was learned well today, lest the blood of the dead be shed for nothing: that would add even more tradgedy.

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-08-17 09:49

      Why did the miners not leave the negations to the unions...that's why they contribute to these idiots monthly...the unions are supposed to deal with these could they have advised the miners to take up armed protests...of coarse the end results will be the death of people...I blame the unions for this. YOU never win disputes with destroying and just adds to the tension....I always find it hard to understand the mentality of protesters...surely they must sense that danger is in the air....and ask themselves is this worth getting killed for?

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-16 23:20

    Dumped in your lap after 5 days of negotiations destined to go nowhere. For BOTH unions are determined to strut their stuff to cling to their ever-dwindling membership. If you're a regular N24 reader, you'll know there is NO depth the Alliance (and certain opposition) will not sink to to retain their grasp. 28 Dead is a small price in their machinations. They already enticed 6 generations to sacrifice their futures for "the cause". It's getting harder but they will persist by any means necessary

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-08-16 23:22

    Since when are strikers allowed to carry sticks, knob kerries, panga's and fire arms?? The police should have put their foot down on day one of the strike over this. The Unions should be charged for allowing the strikers to arm themselves. Where in hell did they really think they could negotiate a 300% wage increase, after tax nogal! This was a planned standoff where they knew the mine would not consent to such a huge wage demand, The unions knowing full well the situation would escalate to violence. The police were rushed by the strikers and had no option but to retaliate. Maybe they were a bit heavy on the trigger finger!

      shabir.ahmed.7796 - 2012-08-17 00:52

      Were they heavy?? Dunno,policemen were killed in the line of duty,water cannons were used and so was teargas..then live ammo- it doesn't sit well with me that ppl were killed-we need a proper investigation into this.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-08-17 03:37

      @ Eddiet....your name says it all!!!!

      rugbyworld.worldrugby - 2012-08-17 04:15

      This is not about whether the pay is good or bad, but unhappy people resorting to not just violence but brutal murder to get their point across. What would have gone through your mind if you are standing there and they are storming you with machetes that is made to hack people to death? You don't shoot, you are dead, that's a fact. derekneilmaclachlan that is quite funny, but if you look past eddiet,s struggle and justifying comments, that same mineworker earns AU$120 000 per year in Australia.

  • lucky.maduwa - 2012-08-16 23:23

    what were u suppose to do?? are u for real? u killing people, since when does a strike cause shed of bloods..this country is just to much to be in, for the 1st time ever,ANC is leading us to nowhere with mr zuma stil in charge,i forsee a disaster.

      sphelele.genqese - 2012-08-17 00:18

      I don't where does the ANC fits in this coz they unions(num) works are at work and its AMCU that is on strike....for the record that was not a normal strike those people had pangas with them and had killed 2 policeman during the strike (the last time I checked police were people hey)

      ryan.wolf.50999 - 2012-08-17 02:20

      @lucky.maduwa-woodwork master !!! Spears , pangas and guns ?? Now must the police stand back ?? Suppose it`s time you go back to your woodwork class !!

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 07:44

      Lucky, this all happened under the ANC watch, when I say the ANC, I mean the ANC & its tri-partied alliance, which includes the ANCYL & Cosatu (Numsa)

  • andrew.pottow - 2012-08-17 00:05

    The comments above of support for our police men and women hearten me. I may complain about inefficiency or lack or training or poor attitude to the calling of policing by some but I will stand behind the SAPS when they are justified in their actions! I've see the riot squad and tactical response operate and they are complete and utter professionals who take their calling seriously! You boys had no option and I for one am glad that you did what you had to do to come home to your families tonight. It's unfortunate that lives had to be lost but I don't believe the police had any other option.

  • riaan.brits.75 - 2012-08-17 00:23

    Hillary Clinton recently visit SA to dissuade us from backing China and Russia, we sent the evil monster packing - and now western media will try to demonize SA like they do with President Assad. I am a white south african who fully support the stance of the black government and police against thugs who arrived armed to the teeth at protests. Such people are not peaceful protesers! What does the west want to do? Back a few more terrorists and thugs and blame a government who is restoring the peace? Russia and China has a moral high ground over the west these days, sadly we have to rather support them than the US who is twisting the truth of events to suit its own agenda. USA people are great but your elite are sick control freaks on a collision course with the rest of the free world

      mark.barker.370 - 2012-08-17 04:55

      Your view of the world is f@cked up you moron. Russia and China have the moral high ground - crawl back into your hovel.

      jo.barton.92 - 2012-08-17 07:36

      Can you imagine if this had happened in China and Russia?Their police forces would have wiped out ALL protestors. In fact there wouldn't have been a protest in the first place.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-08-17 09:13

      @everyone throwing rotten tomatoes at rian: guys you wake up you wanna say yanks and brits have high moral grounds? What about Assange story you idiots or you think launching an attack on the embassy and therefore violating the international law (created by them never mind) is a sign of so called morality? Regarding the main subject its not policemen fault if there were no one who really could have trained them how to handle the riot, they were just a bunch of scared school kids which happened to have guns in their hands. Everyone knows that the worst thing is to give a weapon to a person frightened to death and capable to fire it with his eyes closed. The main blame for this tragedy is on the ANC and their buddies union leaders.

  • makkese.spyker - 2012-08-17 00:23

      jo.barton.92 - 2012-08-17 07:39

      watch this instead:

  • ruan.lacock - 2012-08-17 00:26

    ....waar is mandella nou ....?

      eric.f.moloi - 2012-08-17 00:38

      Leave Mandela alone idiot

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-17 05:38

      Mandela is 94 jare oud, domkop

      jo.barton.92 - 2012-08-17 07:56

      Mandela se hart bloei met trane van verdriet.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-08-17 09:20

      Probably he would love to say something and but started loosing his speech abilities.

  • shiko.phoks - 2012-08-17 00:50

    They just did their job. Whoever misled this mine workers and tell them 'police won't shoot,they r just going to use water canons', must go back and do his/her homework again. If u want to ask for trouble just attack a police officer and you will get what you have been asking for. Sorry for what happened,especially the families of those who lost their lives including the families of two saps members.

  • jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2012-08-17 01:04

    Horribly, we have a culture developing in this country where those who want something have come to believe that violence brings results faster than talking. The Police can't be blamed for this.

  • johnny.potatoes61 - 2012-08-17 01:24

    It's sad that it came to this, but there was no other way to handle the situation. I am fully behind the police on this one.

      ingi.raikes - 2012-08-17 08:57

      To all the members of S.A.P.S., whether you were there yesterday or not. Thank you for what you are doing to try to keep our beloved Country governerable under such horrific conditions. To those involved, well done for stopping those totally out of control masses in their tracks! What would the outcome be today if you hadn't - l hate to think!!! Thank God for you all!

  • hlakanang.mashigo - 2012-08-17 01:30

    Shame S.A.

      ingi.raikes - 2012-08-17 08:58

      Shame on you HLAKANANG.MASHIGO, you really can't be serious.........are you? Oh dear, God help S.A.!

  • phumlani.masilela - 2012-08-17 02:04

    Oh no! from the video you can see that a tear gas was fired by the police who were on the other side of the protest.… my suspicion is that the miners were running for cover and unfortunately they were running towards the police who were also present on the other side without recognizing it. Then a poor judgment from the police, I suspect who thought that these miners were attacking them since they were too close and slaughtered them with massive live ammunition. My analysis can also be proved by the fact that no sober minded person can just run towards a policeman carrying life ammunition. In most cases people throw stones at the police, of which was not the case here. May their soul rest in peace.

      helio.paulo.7 - 2012-08-17 07:35

      Ahh my friend...SOBER MINDED....unfortunately, in riots there are very very few sober minded people,most very vey FRENZIED and IRRATIONAL

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 08:01

      I suppose they also slaughtered the 2 policemen buy accident, huh

      kobus.oosthuizen.5 - 2012-08-17 09:17

      Running from the teargas firing live amo at the SAPS. Wake up !!!

      david.moran.12914216 - 2012-08-17 09:49

      Running from teargas maybe....runing into a line of armed Police while you are armed and while firing weapons....well thats just looking for trouble.

  • phumlani.masilela - 2012-08-17 02:19

    Oh no! from the video you can see clearly that a tear gas was fired by the police who where present fronm the other side… my suspicion is that these miners were running for cover and unfortunately they direction led them towards armed police officers without. Then these police just open fire on them in defense, but the truth is that these miners were running for a cover from chase from the other side. These can be proven by the fatc that no sober minded person can just run towards policeman carrying life ammunition. In most cases people throw stones at the police and here, it wasn't the case...eish! what a tragedy.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-08-17 02:57

    @akarags,im as real as it gets.I nly relay the facts.for eg.i witnesd a white policemen arrest a man because he had two white fem frends in his vehicle,and this was in 2010.And u say im in the way of reconciliation.u get real.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-08-17 02:59

    @akarags,im as real as it gets.I nly relay the facts.for eg.i witnesd a white policemen arrest a black man because he had two white fem frends in his vehicle,giving them a lift,and this was in 2010.And u say im in the way of reconciliation.u get real.

      jakes.cakedregs - 2012-08-17 03:42

      @fort.h, you have clearly lost you ability to be objective. You see only what you NEED to see to satisfy your convictions.

      goldwright - 2012-08-17 04:42

      People like you horseman, will ALWAYS make a racial issue out of everything, - with the footage on tv last night, I did not see all lily white police up against those protestors, if anything most of the cops were of darker hue, and I possibly saw two white guys at the most - that is NO apartheid style police force, that is the ANC led police force, whether you care to admit it or not. Like there are NO bad apple black cops - there has been footage on tv of black traffic cops assualting a white woman in Gauteng and in KZN another white woman was beaten up by a black cop. The problems in this country are not SIMPLY white vs black, but you are obviously unable to see that and as jakes says, you have clearly lost the ability to be objective seeing only what you need (or want) to see, - you are among a certain group of South Africans (of all races) who seem to want to cause division among the races, (and in some regards are successful) and you ARE UNABLE to MOVE ON. Many of these comments if you hadn't noticed, are also that of black names, fed up with the lawless and violent manner in which many protestors/strikers behave. Like I said these killings are not a racial issue - but for some of you, I guess you still want to fight and kill.

      john.ferreira.1213 - 2012-08-17 06:48

      Fort.horseman, the 2 white females were most probably prostitutes and the black oke did not want to share them with the policeman.

  • christopher.collings.9 - 2012-08-17 03:08

    Good job SAPS!!!!! Keep it up!!!!

  • bmaestro - 2012-08-17 03:53

    too much bloodshed,surely they must another way people can resolve disputes of this nature.tragic as it maybe the police had to shoot fire with fire which,understandably so those who lost their lives during this shootout were very very unfortunate.when i watched on news yesterday i couldn't bear to watch such horror "lord have mercy upon us" i whispered to my soul

  • chaapo.sithole - 2012-08-17 04:01

    Bitter harvest of a culture of anarchy in the name of fighting for rights. Given what the police and others had already suffered, this aws not a rational crowd. Police officers and security guards died very painful deaths, the hackings and the burnings (remember the necklace culture anyone) and to think you could have been listened to by this mob which had had a taste of blood, is naive. When those murders occured, why was their silence from the government, the union leadesr and the people? Those people's blood is no less precious than that of the protesters. Blame too the unions who in their battle for supremacy try to outdo each other to prove they are stronger by polishing up on their degrees in violence. Add the politicians who stand aside and fiddle while Rome burns. And lastly, blame we the people who have allowed this distructive culture to grow and to which we give accolades saying that is the South African way of protesting. The hue and cry is only because of the optics and I will bet if it had been just those earlier deaths, it would have been consigned to a footnote as collateral damage. Let this be a lesson to all, violence begets violence. Everyone reapes the harvest of thorns and

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 08:07

      well said chaapo, this will not be an isolated event, the ANC Government & its alliance, have led the country down this dangerous path & now we are seeing the manifestations of this poor & reckless leadership. The damage caused by the events of the last couple of years, i,e Polekwane coup, Zuma presidency, ANCYL rhetoric & ill discipline, union greed & selfishness is now all coming back to bite the ANC Government & the country as a whole.

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-08-17 04:31

    The tragic fact is that apartheid has created a subconcious state of mind that a black persons life is worthless!And more appalling are those who arrogantly commend this hidious atrocity!

      goldwright - 2012-08-17 05:07

      Let me just tell you that I am a nurse, and I specifically look after premature babies and newborns of ALL races, - it makes NO difference to me what race they or their parents are, they ALL get my BEST care, every single life is precious to me, but just look at the photos of those protestors, they were not behaving peacefully, - they were being PROVOCATIVE, and unfortunately there were consequences. Yes, it is tragic and sad that people have died, but this is NOT black vs white or white vs black anymore, you are dredging up the same old story - people (of all races) are fed up with the violent behaviour of strikers in this country but as someone said violence begets violence. It is a strong nation that will break that circle of violence and stop blaming everyone else for their problems - WHEN will this country find it's STRENGTH?

      chaapo.sithole - 2012-08-17 05:09

      A rouge man, black or blue or any other hue, is no good. Spoils it for the rest of us Blacks too. There are ways of protesting without resorting to killing and what the protesters did prior to this incident is inexcusable. Why gloss over it and focus on a single incident? Weren't those killed by the workers a few days ago black too? It is not about blackness or its value or lack of it but a state of mind that violence will get you what you want.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-08-17 04:45

    The Police did the right thing and this should be a lesson to those who think they can solve their problems threatening and killing others to have their demands met. I fully support the SAP in their actions and the ones to blame here are the leaders of these Unions whom themselves started a fire that they could not contain. Down with all these Unions and their demands and bring criminal charges against them!

  • pisciotta - 2012-08-17 04:58

    Someone please explain to me how SA does not carry out the "Death Penalty" but the Police can SHOOT TO KILL? BTW: I support the Death Penalty.

      nafeesah.mahomed - 2012-08-17 05:17

      Because too many innocent people were killed. Once u kill an innocent man,he cannot be un-killed!

      dudu.son.1 - 2012-08-17 06:28

      The guards and police had already bn killed. There more than tqaditional wearpons. Union offials have got 2 teach on what is a march. There was a lot of anger than voicing their needs. Some of the dead could have bn dragd into this. The ring leaders to own the results as well.

  • maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-08-17 05:18

    I am absolutely devastated at the loss of life. These were probably all breadwinners. 18-0 ? Its so tragic because they wanted a better life, and Helen Zille just asks for a bit of help..................

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 08:11

      yea, & the irony of all this is that 1000's more breadwinners will now lose their jobs as investors stop investing, as mines close down (remember 2 closed in the last 4 month), so its all very well looking at one days events, but you need to see the bigger picture, this event did nothing, absolutely NOTHING, to create jobs, it just destroyed 1000's possibly tens of thousands.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-08-17 05:21

    Don't you just love some of the racits comments coming through on this. Its quite amazing how people would blame this on race issues. Clearly on the video footage,, its not a bunch of white cops shooting at the miners. But its the other way around. Its an unfortunate situation that couldve been avoided. The SAPS were totally in there right to defend themselves, in a clearly volitile situation where negotiations from the SAPS side was ignorned. Race cards have no place here. So see the situation for what it is and leave the racism comments to yourself.

      donnmakaveli - 2012-08-17 05:32

      Mister farmer there isn't a police station in the hills, shut tha f**k up biatch *ss pig

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-08-17 05:38

      Ha ha ha ha mister farmers you say. Lol. Why don't you avoid your hangover have another beer and just stay drunk.

  • donnmakaveli - 2012-08-17 05:24

    F**k the police!\r\nDamn these robocops. Do these clowns came from homes with families just like us? I would really like to know what goes through their minds when they gun tout on fleeing protesters. Spilling blood for what actually, huh? call for duty???\r\nWhy not use scare tactics?\r\nAnd the commentary is all annoying, shear opportunism of some hypocrites who are dangling for cheap political points yet they are part of this bureaucracy! \r\nCivil servants except for teachers are the dumbest bitch asses I can ever think of, yeah whole lotta of them and if yhu are yeah f**k yhu too or just shut tha f**k up and block iish onme! \r\n#hallucinating#

      khathutshelorathogwa - 2012-08-17 06:49

      u dnt thnk of pangas kilied da cops to dearth? U dnt knw wat u tlkmg abt

  • ignatius.ntwampe - 2012-08-17 05:26

    That was a gang in the mine, police did what was necessary because they were protecting themselves. Also equally important investigation team should be established, what we saw is not sober.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-08-17 06:36

      Why was the army not called in to assist, this is shocking, where were the rubber bullets. Sorry cannot accept that people wanting a better life needed to die.

  • dennis.vermaak.5 - 2012-08-17 05:27

    And the Apartheid era SAPS were labelled "murderers" ????

  • ziphok1 - 2012-08-17 05:38

    Two police already dead while doing their job. It so easy this days to blame the police. This thugs got what was coming for them.

  • monroek1 - 2012-08-17 05:42

    This is really out of order !

  • fatimah.mavuso - 2012-08-17 05:42

    Ethical dilemma

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-08-17 05:44

    Question is who was leading the workers. News mentioned Malema. Whoever incited the workers to violence must be held accountable. Unions are creating unrealistic expectations to justify their existence.

      maureen.churchill.9 - 2012-08-17 06:47

      Some of those men were on the mine for 10 years and earned R4000 you try and feed a family and pay for basics. It was wrong, you may slate my sentiment as much as you want IT WAS NOT NECESSARY. They couldn't have been too well armed, 18 of them were killed. A black mark on Africa.

  • samantha.hart.9693 - 2012-08-17 05:47

    If those protestors arrived with loaded guns then they could not have expected a different outcome. The police cannot be expected to stand there and be shot at. The intentions of the protestors were obviously not peaceful.

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-08-17 05:53


  • themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-17 05:51

    What happened was really tragic. I wonder though how does the right to strike entitle the strikers to bring their machetes, rocks, knobkerries, pangas, butcher knives, etc. to the match and kill their adversaries. Surely a march is by definition a “peaceful” event, and if marchers bring all sorts of dangerous weapons the march will inevitably turn into violence, possibly murder, looting and mayhem

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-08-17 05:54

    Wether u black,wite,orange or grey,da race of humanity wud feel deeply saddened for their deaths.All they were asking for was a better living and ironically all they got was dead!ANC ,u contradicting evryting u fought for??police, wot goes around comes around!!!!!!!!!!al u loudmouths wud do the same if u livd on their salaries.

      fiona.warren.733 - 2012-08-17 06:56

      That's it horseman, best comment from you so far - others were a bit scary! empathy understanding, compassion for ALL races. I knew you had it in you - everyone does just need to Make their OWN choices. Its about making positive safe prosperous future for all our children! I agree miners salaries are indeed shocking and the situation needs serious attention But Violence doesn't solve anything as we have seen.

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-08-17 05:59

    If you go looking for trouble don't complain if you find it

  • sango.jika - 2012-08-17 06:08

    If i was one of the cops i would have killed too to save my life from these people.

  • bheki.shabangu.10 - 2012-08-17 06:11

    To protest is legal

      brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-17 06:21

      To intimidate and murder is illegal

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 08:17

      do you understand what the world protest means, clearly not

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-08-17 06:14

    While the loudmouths talk tough and enjoy their daily luxuries,tomorrow there wil be 18 families without breadwinners,and children without fathers.But that was the root objective of apartheids oppression,to dehumanise the black man,so who cares,right?just another day in SA.

      johan.steyn.127 - 2012-08-17 07:21

      If you gave a bit more attention then you will see the police officers were blacks also stop with the ag us poor black poeple attitude these poeple killed other poeple and was armed when they attacked officers they got what was comming to them they thought they were untouchable by the muti they were givin guess they were wrong.

  • keith.roberts.98434 - 2012-08-17 06:14

    Can we transport Minister Mthethwa back to Sharpville in 1976 to comment?

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-17 06:42

      He will discover that marches were banned by your apartheid government and that black people had absolutely no rights AT ALL. That is why even 2 black people chatting to each other were considered “an illegal gathering”. He will also be horrified to discover that men and women who were carrying ONLY dompasses which they intended dumping at the local police station were then brutally murdered by the apartheid police on their way, resulting in the death of 69 people WHO WERE NOT armed and therefore posed no danger. In 1976, CHILDREN armed only with STONES and marching against Verwoerdian GUTTER MISEDUCATION were also brutally treated to live ammunition by the same murderous white apartheid police, resulting in scores of deaths of children, including a 16 year old Hector Peterson

  • nico.loubser.9 - 2012-08-17 06:19

    This happened in the old government too. Now you can see why that did what they did!!! Hopefully you understand it now.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-08-17 06:24

      Ag please go away

  • joyce.kweyama - 2012-08-17 06:24


  • motse.lesenyeho - 2012-08-17 06:25

    if only mines could start taking responsibility in regards to safety matter and better salaries, this would not happen. \r\nKill us one by one, call all your forces. You will not finish us nor kill our fighting spirit... Viva NUM! Viva rival union

  • refiloe.shikwambana - 2012-08-17 06:31

    Basicaly its justify people should go on strike with weapons.

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-17 06:34

    And they want to use rubber bullets and water cannons on gangsters armed with guns.....

      zanele.msebenzi - 2012-08-17 06:41

      it is best to use rubberbullets and water cannons than using bullets and killing pple just like that

      vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-17 07:05

      And what about the 10 that got killed before the cops came along?

  • malusi.shumane.7 - 2012-08-17 06:36

    Shoot to kill police!!! These criminals called protesters must also explain the lives of 10 people they killed.

  • rupert.vansittert - 2012-08-17 06:39

    Barbarians were treated as such... They had it coming for a while now. The SAPS merely protected the community because its their duty. VIVA SAPS!!

      tshepo.mokhoromeng - 2012-08-17 06:57

      Blacks are barbarians?,they had it coming?. U saying this nonsense because no whites were shot, VIVA se voet

      vivian.harris.73 - 2012-08-17 07:08

      Protest all u want, its ur right. But don't go killing people and cry when the cops show up...

      thabani.alfred - 2012-08-17 07:20

      M also black tshepo bt thoz ppl got wt ws coming to them,so its nt abt colour ths tym bro bt police dd wt thy had to do. - 2012-08-17 07:26

      Listen you idiot! Was black ever mentioned anywhere? I say saps should have shot more of THEM! If you don't listen you must feel!

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-17 08:22

      tshepo, dont make an already horrible situation worse by making it a racial issue, 98% of the police were blacks too, so were the other victims that were murdered, i.e. the cops & security guards

  • rezo.mosepele - 2012-08-17 06:48

    Fighting fire with fire leaves only ashes and in this case led to more casuality. Whatever the greviency is, it doesn't justifies thes malicious actions. I think senior goverment officials must intervene cos this is turning into a national crisis

  • Anele - 2012-08-17 06:48

    Ask to mine management they can come with an answer not shooting of our people that will be a war nathi mthethwa how can you kill people who are exercising their rights but you can't control killings in your home province why don't you ask police to shoot people af that village where there was killing of innocent people who were just gathering in home ,that's stupid question