Marikana: The questions Nathi Mthethwa will face

2014-07-14 06:00

Nathi Mthethwa will have to step back into his old role as minister of police when he appears before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry tomorrow.

Mthethwa, who is now the minister of arts and culture, has been called as a witness for the police.

City Press has learnt that Mthethwa will be closely questioned by evidence leaders about changes to public order policing training in the wake of the August 2012 shootings.

North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo and national police commissioner Riah Phiyega have already testified about these changes.

It is understood Mthethwa will be asked why he felt it necessary to implement the changes if?–?as he suggested after 34 miners were shot dead by police –?officers had not acted improperly by opening fire.

Hours after the shooting, Mthethwa was quoted in media reports as saying: “Now what should police do in such situations when clearly what they are faced with are armed and hard-core criminals who murder police?”

City Press has learnt that Mthethwa is expected to also face questions around the following issues:

Political pressure

The commission has already seen emails and heard a recorded conversation between Mbombo and Lonmin representatives in which the provincial commissioner is heard saying that

when she spoke to “Minister Mthethu [Mthethwa] he mentioned a name to me that is calling him, that is pressuring him, unfortunately it is a political high?…?Cyril Ramaphosa, yes.”

Who gave the order to shoot?

So far, there’s been no evidence directly linking any police officers or commissioners to the order to shoot miners on August 16.

At the time, Mthethwa was the highest-ranking officer in the police and might shed light on who gave the order.

What did the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) investigation find?

A few striking miners who were arrested on August 16 have accused police of torturing them while they were in custody.

Ipid handed over a preliminary report to Mthethwa about these allegations but, so far, none of these details have been made public.

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