Cop forgot to record Marikana event

2013-04-23 22:27
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - A policeman handling a water cannon at Marikana forgot to switch on the camera in the vehicle, resulting in a gap in the footage, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Major-General Charl Annandale said the officer had claimed to have a limited amount of space on the camera's hard-drive.

Therefore, he had to switch it on when necessary and off when he felt fit.

"As a result on the attack on police, he forgot to activate it," said Annandale.

Annandale, who headed the police special tactical operations team during the unrest in Marikana, was delivering his evidence-in-chief at the commission in Rustenburg.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people, who were killed during the wage-related unrest at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West, last year.

Police shot dead 34 mineworkers when trying to disperse them near the mine on 16 August.

Ten people were killed in the preceding week.

Another water cannon operator said he had experienced technical difficulties and, therefore, could not record the events.

Police only received the footage from the cannons in November - almost three months after the Marikana wage-related unrest.

Annandale said one reason for the delay in obtaining the footage was that the videos could only be viewed in the cannon itself.

The material could not be downloaded and viewed on a separate device.

The water cannons, therefore, had to be taken to a forensic lab in Pretoria.

Muti

Earlier in Tuesday's proceedings, the commission was told police were aware a ritual had been performed on the protesters.

Annandale said they had seen a white Toyota bakkie laden with buckets driving up to the koppie where miners gathered in the days prior to the shooting.

A traditional healer was seen sprinkling the substance in the buckets on a group of naked men. Police took pictures of this from a helicopter.

Annandale said police did not know what effect the muti would have had on the protesters.

The commission was told a police radio was stolen several days before the shooting. The individual who took the radio later tried to use it.

"It was clear that the person wasn't an officer," said Annandale.

He did not clarify whether the radio was taken from one of the police officers killed in Marikana that week.

Dispersal plan

Annandale said he opted to discuss the Marikana dispersal plan with the other commanders, since it could have been compromised had it been shared over the radio.

He gave a detailed account of the police's dispersal plan of the protesters for that day and said using rubber bullets were meant to be the last resort.

Police were intending to communicate with miners, use barbed wire to create a barrier between themselves and the miners, use water cannons, stun grenades and tear gas.

The protesters had, however, threatened police and asked why they had brought out the barbed wire, said Annandale.

The hearings continue.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry
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