Ten years after the Marikana massacre, only two recommendations have been implemented when it comes to public order. That’s according to David Bruce, a security analyst who was part of a panel of experts studying how police manage crowds.
The recommendations came from the Farlam Commission, which investigated the tragedy. Ten years on, there are only two major changes and no legislative improvements to how police manage crowds.
“There are two main changes. Before Marikana, there was a tendency to use tactical units in crowd control operations. It is the units armed with R5 automatic rifles that are responsible for most of the deaths in Marikana. After the Marikana Police have largely stopped using these units in POP (public order enforcement), they are sometimes used in support roles but are not equipped with the R5. There was one incident where a University of Tshwane student died after being shot with an R5 rifle by SAPS members during a protest, this seems to be an exception. The participant was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison,” explains David Bruce, an independent researcher specializing in policing and a member of the commission.
10th Marika Massacre Commemoration:
The group was made up of local and international police experts, SAPS members and police union representatives.
Bruce says there has been very little engagement with the report from the government.
“Their report was completed in 2018 and only published in March 2021. Some of the recommendations included in the amended draft law on the police service, which was published in 2020, suggest that it will be brought before parliament this year. Apart from these draft legal provisions, there is no significant interaction with the group’s report by the government.”
According to the Civilian Police Secretariat, the body that advises the police minister and develops departmental policy, some of the group’s recommendations have been implemented.
The SABC reached out to the SAPS for comment, but there was no response.