African press review 24 August 2012
A memorial service for a fatal shooting during a South African miners' strike and questions over police integrity feature in African newspapers today.
Thousands of people gathered at Marikana, in Sourth Africa's north-east, for a wreath-laying and memorial ceremony commemorating 44 people killed in last week’s police shooting of striking miners.
The Sowetan reports that several widows collapsed and others broke down when they saw the jackets, blankets and shoes worn by their husbands shot dead by police.
The Johannesburg Star highlights President Jacob Zuma’s second visit to the Marikana mine area on Thursday, saying it was a move to save face.
According to the newspaper, the trip came after Zuma’s nemesis, the axed ANC Youth president Julius Malema, had “opportunistically exploited the massacre to question Zuma’s leadership and called on him to resign over the shootings”.
Business Day says the fact that police were unable to gauge the extent of this threat has placed the spotlight squarely on the public order policing unit, which was at the forefront of the clashes with hundreds of miners last Thursday. According to the newspaper, questions remain about whether the police adhered to their own protocols and whether they had the skills to deal with such an explosive scenario.
The Mail and Guardian profiles the retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge Ian Farlam, who was appointed by Zuma to chair the commission of inquiry into the Marikana tragedy. The paper describes Farlam as independent-minded and one of the country's most experienced judges, highly regarded in legal circles.
The Mail and Guardian says the commission has a very tight four-month deadline to deliver its report. It claims that Zuma is keen to prevent the findings from disrupting the ANC elective conference in Manguang in December.
Jay Naidoo, a former secretary general of South Africa’s main trade union, Cosatu, reacts to the Marikana tragedy in an article titled “Blood on our hand, hands over ears”, published by The Daily Maverick. The former cabinet minister says the massacre has laid bare the gross failure of leadership to acknowledge the festering discontent in the bosom of South Africa’s economy.
Daily News Durban looks at allegations that South Africa's police force is too trigger-happy. The paper reports the Independent Police Investigative Directorate has announced plans to take 30 Durban policemen to trial for murder and other charges.