n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Groundhog Day? Public order policing twenty years into democracy

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



In this segment of a poem entitled 'Marikana', written by sociologist and poet Ari Sitas, we are reminded of the horror of the police intervention during a strike by miners at the Lonmin owned Marikana mine. In this incident which took place on the 16th of August 2012, 34 protesting miners were killed by police gunfire. This event, some of which was captured on television footage, sent shock waves throughout the country and the world. The horror and disbelief evoked by the graphic images of the massacre are conjured in the poem by Sitas.The massacre at Marikana has come to hold a central place in the analysis of policing, and broader political events, since 2012. In the eyes of a number of policing researchers and commentators it is viewed as symbolic of the new political order's failure to overcome historical inequalities and also as representing the breakdown of the process of (arguably fragile and contingent) democratic police reform. As Alexander et al put it in reflecting on Marikana : 'What is especially galling is that the atrocity occurred, not under an apartheid regime hostile to the black majority, but under a democratically elected government'.

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