South Africans were left reeling after President Jacob Zuma’s presentation of the findings of the Marikana Report. The best way to understand the report’s contents was to read it yourself, but who has time to read 600+ pages? Armed with a lot of coffee and very little sleep, South African journo Richard Stupart starting doing exactly that – and provided a detailed summary for those of who didn’t have the staying power to do all the heavy reading themselves.
Shortly after Zuma’s address on Thursday evening, Stupart, who is features editor at African Defence Review, and is also completing his masters in public policy and conflict in Germany, began to make his way through the 600+ page report, condensing it into comments on his Facebook status.
“South African conflicts, such as Marikana, often get buried in reports that people will talk about, but few will actually read in detail. The TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) report is one, sad example. So the comment notes will hopefully allow more people to get some of the meat of the report out, without a two-day readathon,” Stupart said.
Stupart completed his reading and commentary over the weekend, but speaking to The Daily Vox on Friday when he was about halfway through, he already had some thoughts on major points of the report, one of them being what he called “the utter evasiveness of the SAPS”.
“There is a lot of evidence that the police are lying and concealing evidence. Phiyega and Mbombo were underqualified for their jobs. They hid the fact that they had even had this meeting, and falsified minutes of their onsite briefing at Marikana the next morning, to make it look like the decision was taken there. Phiyega had to be dragged back to the commission and basically squeezed hard to admit it even happened,” he said.
“The recommendations do make a lot of sense though. The report is correct that Ramaphosa was essentially cleared though, as he hadn’t intended any of what actually happened.”
Stupart’s full reading of the text – annotations, summaries, thoughts and quotes reflect a sequential reading of the report of the Marikana Commission of enquiry, made over the course of 24 hours spent reading the report after its release – is now available on his blog and is well worth the read.
In his own words: “Witty interruptions aside, I feel this is the most detailed summary of the report’s contents available at present, outside of actually reading it yourself.”