Government should have learned from incidents like Marikana in response to July unrest: Analyst

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Crime analyst Dr Chris de Kock says the government should have learned from previous incidents like Marikana to be better prepared to respond to last year’s civil unrest.

De Kock was commenting on Lotus FM’s Newsbreak Talk on a discussion around President Cyril Ramaphosa’s testimony at the South African Human Rights Commission hearings earlier this week.

At least over 350 people died when rioting crowds looted malls and businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

De Kock says the country’s public order policing unit must be improved. “After Marikana and some other incidents, they should have looked at public order policing already prepare themselves for something like this. The government didn’t really have intelligence that this was coming, they had some indication that there was going to be riots but they didn’t expect something like this and I must say what worries me the most because up to today I’m not aware we have anyone found guilty for planning this specific riots. Actually, the people that planned this are still outside,” says De Kock.

July Unrest | President Ramaphosa gives testimony at HRC hearings 

At least 36 people were killed during this period in Phoenix, however, the Phoenix Ubuntu Forum’s Sharm Maharajh says he believes there is not enough evidence against those who have been arrested in connection with these killings.

“Well, I think there were challenges in Phoenix and that we have acknowledged. We met with the Minister of Police Bheki Cele and we have asked the Human Rights Commission – you say 36 people were killed in Phoenix by Phoenix people. Can you let us know who those 36 people are? When they were killed; how? All we were told was those bodies were found in Phoenix. It cannot be that because bodies were found in Phoenix that they were killed by the Phoenix people now so many people have been arrested where is the evidence to go and convict them,” says Maharajh.

July Unrest | Victims speak out following the release of the report