Marikana shooting regrettable, not disastrous – Phiyega

2013-04-03 16:32

The police operation in Marikana that led to the fatal shooting of 34 striking Marikana miners was “not disastrous“, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega has said.

“I will go on record to say it was regrettable, not disastrous. I have said that, as police, we did what we could to negotiate from the 8th to the 10th (of August 2012). We continued to do so because our thoughts were similar and we wanted a peaceful resolution,” said Phiyega today.

She was testifying before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry in Rustenburg into last year’s August 16 shooting at the Lonmin platinum mine.

Phiyega was under cross-examination by attorney Gcina Malindi.

Malindi said a crowd-control expert had said the events that ended in 34 miners being shot dead, and 10 other people being killed in the days prior to the main shooting, were disastrous.

“He says it was disastrous because, during the relevant period, 44 people were killed when the police could have minimised the deaths,” said Malindi.

Phiyega said: “We had a plan and I can say it was a good plan. The plan was disrupted ... The outcome was regrettable and unintended,” said Phiyega.

In her statement last year, Phiyega described the incident as “catastrophic”.

Today, Phiyega told the commission that catastrophic was not synonymous with the word disastrous.

“I called it catastrophic, because in 18 years, as the SA Police Service, we’ve never experienced this before,” she said.

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