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Patrick Bond on Marikana: Lessons the Police Didn’t Learn

Politics of Climate JusticePatrick Bond’s latest book is on climate justice in the context of climate change, but his sharp commentary extends to many other areas of concern to civil society groupings – including the killings at Marikana that tragically punctuated 2012.

Writing in Pambazuka News, Bond excoriates the South African Police Service for failing to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions on the day of the massacre – and, more gravely, for failing to adjust their institutional behaviour following earlier incidents that proved to be harbingers of the fateful day:

During a famous service delivery protest in the small farming town of Ficksburg more than a year earlier, the televised police murder of community leader Andries Tatane traumatised viewers and gave the police a bloody nose. Many other failed public-order policing experiences required a rethink, and in August, SAPS were on the verge of banning sometimes-lethal rubber bullets from their armaments. But a resurgence of gung-ho cowboy policing took hold under the ‘shoot to kill’ leadership of recent commissioner Bheki Cele, judging by the testimony of Mkhwanazi, who joined the old SA Police back in the bad old days of 1986, when P.W. Botha was at the peak of his racist tyranny and thousands were killed, injured or jailed by apartheid cops.

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