Marikana cops had 225 rifles

By Drum Digital
28 November 2013

Police at Marikana had 225 R5 rifles on the day 34 people were shot, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday

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"For the benefit of the commission, we have asked the SAPS how many R5s were on the scene that day [16 August] and they said there were 225," evidence leaders' head Advocate Geoff Budlender told the commission.

He then cross-examined Brigadier Adriaan Calitz, who was the operational commander at Marikana during the unrest, about the ammunition.

"Did you not instruct Colonel [Joseph] Merafe for [an] additional 4 500 rounds for the R5 rifles?"

Calitz replied: "I did not give that instruction to Colonel Merafe on that day [16 August] as he says. Not at all."

On 16 August 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police fired on a group gathered at a hill near Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

On Wednesday, Calitz said that during the week before 16 August, police fired several bullets during clashes with the protesters and needed to replace them.

"I only told Merafe that all the ammunition that had been used needed to be replaced. I did not mention any numbers," said Calitz

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