Fewer cops in Marikana on fatal day

By Drum Digital
22 April 2013

Police numbers in Marikana had been declining in the week that 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead, the Farlam Commission heard on Monday.

There were around 550 officers in Marikana on August 13 last year. The number increased to around 750 by the 15th, but decreased to around 600 on August 16 -- the day of the shooting, SA Police Service Maj-Gen Charl Annandale said.

Officers brought in from other provinces during the course of the week had returned to their posts prior to the main shooting.

Annandale was under cross-examination by Ishmael Semenya, for the SAPS.

He said though he had attended to big operations before, he never attended to one that needed such extensive crowd control where most of the crowd was armed.

Annandale was heading the police special tactical operations team during the Marikana unrest.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry is holding public hearings in Rustenburg, North West, as part of an investigation into the deaths of 34 miners shot dead in a wage-related strike at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine on August 16.

Another 10 people were killed in the preceding week.

The hearings continue.

-by Sapa

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