Zuma finally speaks out on Marikana shooting
President Jacob Zuma used the funeral of a cleric yesterday to break his silence on allegations of police brutality at the Marikana mine.
For the first time since 34 miners died in a hail of bullets almost a month ago, Zuma questioned how police could so "easily" shoot at civilians.
"'It has become so easy for the police to shoot and kill people and for the people to protest with spears and pangas," he said.
Apart from setting up a judicial commission of inquiry and an inter-ministerial team to investigate the shootings, the president had been quiet about the police's use of live ammunition on the striking miners - and the resultant outcry.
Yesterday, speaking at the funeral of the Rev Elliot Khoza Mgojo, in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma said crime in South Africa had become increasingly violent.
But reports that South Africa led the world in crime statistics were not true, he said. The spotlight was, however, on the violent nature of crime in South Africa.
"There are those who rape a person of over 90. In other countries people steal and leave; [here] people steal and wait for you [to hurt you]," he said.
Zuma's statements followed those of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who bemoaned the sharp decline of moral standards in this country.
Tutu, who almost broke into tears repeatedly asked what had happened to this country.
He said: "A grown-up man can rape a baby. What happened to us that three orphans were stoned to death, what have we done? We thought God was giving us freedom, what has happened to us?
". What has happened to us that today we can speak of our police force killing our own people."
People were living in fear because of crime and were like "prisoners in their own homes", he said, before singing Senzeni Na? (What Have We Done), a popular liberation song.
Zuma said Tutu's question on moral decay required leaders from the ANC and churches to join hands to find an answer.