Action to be taken against Marikana cop

By Drum Digital
30 August 2013

Action will be taken against a policeman for firing teargas at striking Marikana miners without being commanded to do so.

Action will be taken against a policeman for firing teargas at striking Marikana miners without being commanded to do so, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday. "He should have been disciplined for not following the standing order," North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe said. He told the commission he would take up the matter after concluding his evidence at the commission. Police had been escorting armed striking mineworkers to a hill at Marikana where other miners had gathered on August 13, 2012. An officer fired teargas at the minersand they retaliated by attacking police. Two police officers were hacked, stabbed, and shot to death. A third officer was wounded. The officer said later he had heard an instruction to shoot. It was unclear where the instruction had come from. Earlier, commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, said it was unlikely that Mpembe had issued the instruction to shoot. "If you had given the instruction, more than one person would have fired their teargas canister... and recorded it in their pocket books. "It seems clear that you did not give the instruction," said Farlam. Mpembe agreed. The commission, sitting in Centurion, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West in August last year.

Thirty-four people, mostly miners, were shot dead by police on August 16. Ten other people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

-by Sapa

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