[17 August 2012]
AN AFRICAN DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE
We offer our condolences to the families of all those who have been killed.
While the events leading up to the police shooting on Thursday August 16 are contested, a democratic state cannot accept the loss of life and the brutal suppression of people which was witnessed yesterday.
While we join people in calling for an independent, rapid high level enquiry into the matter, we suggest that the government should ensure that the members of the enquiry include an international element in order that South Africans can absolve themselves of this deep stain on the fabric of their democracy.
In the meantime, we urge Lonmin, the unions present in the area, and local authorities to work together to obtain calm and to enable people to bury their dead in peace. We look forward to the presence of the President of the country together with his most senior colleagues in the area at the earliest possible opportunity.
For some time now an increasing number of South Africans have begun to turn to violence too easily whether they are in political formations, unions, the public service or merely citizens. This incident should be a lesson in the danger of this approach.
Finally, while the police might have been justified in their use of deadly force, this has still to be proven. In the meantime those involved in control and command should be suspended from service pending investigation.
For more information contact Idasa Executive Director Paul Graham on +27 (0)82 571 3887 or External
Relations Manager Olmo von Meijenfeldt on email@example.com or on +27 (0)79 872 8092
Or visit our website at www.idasa.org