Avoiding another Marikana massacre: Why police leadership matters

  • Gareth Newham Institute for Security Studies

Abstract

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry report presented damning findings against the South African Police Service (SAPS) National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, and the senior commanders involved in the Marikana massacre. Their decision to disarm and disperse striking miners was found to be flawed and to have resulted in police officers unjustifiably shooting 112 striking mineworkers, killing 34 of them. Moreover, their integrity was found wanting on the basis that Phiyega and her senior commanders withheld crucial evidence, constructed misleading evidence, and provided untruthful testimony before the commission. This article argues that a necessary condition for improvements to take place in the SAPS relates to improving the top leadership of the organisation. Fortunately, the National Development Plan provides a starting point as to how this can be achieved.‘Police supervisors at any level need to be aware that their behaviour has a strong impact on the organisational culture, which in turn contributes to police behaviour.’
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Published
2015-11-02
Section
Commentary and analysis