More than four years after the Marikana massacre and 18 months after the report of the commission of inquiry into the events was released, finally we have a response from the president. The timing of the Presidency’s "update", released on a Sunday in December, is inexplicable. But it does represent at least some attempt to hold some people accountable for the events of August 2012. Attributing responsibility for the shootings to individual police officers proved to be almost impossible for various reasons. The Farlam commission recommended rather that those who were in charge — who set up the situation and then failed to control it — should be held responsible. Commendably, the Presidency seems largely to have followed this. It has referred a list that includes South African Police Service (SAPS) brigadiers, major-generals, colonels and other officers for prosecution. The list appears to cover the key officers who were in control and were responsible for what happened. The principle...

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