Dozens of civil society organisations have urged the government to release a report into South Africa's police methods, conducted by a panel of experts set up in the wake of the 2012 Marikana massacre - when police fired into groups of striking miners, killing 34 and leaving more than 70 injured. The report closely examined police methods and related issues and could have played an important role in relation to a pending Bill related to the police. But though it was to have been released this week, it has now been indefinitely blanketed, prompting urgent calls for the secrecy to be lifted.
In one of the darkest days of South Africa’s history, 34 miners were shot and killed by police in August 2012. Official figures put the number of those injured by the police at 78. Though it is a crucial moment in the country’s post-apartheid history, many ends have been left undone and families, victims and society generally have yet to reach proper closure.
This week the University of Cape Town’s Democracy, Governance and Rights Unit – parent body of the Judicial Institute for Africa – became one of a number of organisations to call for a crucial report on the massacre and the behaviour of the police during that incident, and in other incidents since 1995, to be made public.
More than 20 civil society organisations involved in fighting for social justice have urged that the final report by the Marikana panel of experts should be released and made public. After it was handed over to the Minister of Police almost two and a half years ago, it was to have been released at a meeting this week, but has now been ‘postponed indefinitely’.
The report was the product of a close investigation into policing in South Africa since democratic change in 1995. It was to have been used as the basis for discussion of a new Bill affecting the police, but because it has been ‘disappeared’, the work involved in the report on the panel of experts on policing could all be wasted. The current Bill will not benefit from the investigations and research and without knowing what is in it, members of the public have been at a disadvantage when it comes to engaging with the draft Bill.
DGRU, along with its co-signatories, called on the Minister of Police to release the final report as a matter of urgency, saying there can be no reasonable justification for further delays in making it public.