Cop quizzed over Marikana plans

2013-09-25 22:13
Police officers at Marikana. (Picture: Sapa)

Police officers at Marikana. (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - Evidence leaders at the Farlam Commission questioned Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott on Wednesday about police strategies during the Marikana unrest last year.

Advocate Matthew Chaskalson sought answers from Scott about the sequence of the police intervention plan to curb the violent, strike-related protests.

"A slide here [in the police evidence] says the initial interim operation strategy was to prevent the protesters from coming to the koppie armed, by deploying a police line to search those approach routes," he said.

"[The plan was also] to encircle those at the koppie, estimated at less than 50, to disarm and arrest and transport for processing at the Marikana police station.

"This was deemed not feasible due to the forces [officers] called up from distant locations not having arrived yet, or [because] those who were there had not been briefed sufficiently."

Chaskalson said this strategy, mooted for 14 August, made up stage three of the police’s six-point intervention plan.

He said the plan was similar to the ultimate police dispersion strategy carried out at the koppie on 16 August.

Scott disagreed.

"In the presentation build for the [Farlam] Commission, initially these [plans] were placed into their own days. Then it was thought that it would be confusing to run [explain] a plan and go to a new day," he said.

"It was then deemed that, on that Tuesday [14 August], we just reflect on the whole plan up until the Thursday [16 August].

"The plans were initially split among the different days and then they were brought together to be dealt with as a whole."

Chaskalson asked Scott to examine the presentation on the police intervention strategies, which was supplied to the commission, against the days they were implemented.

The inquiry continues on Thursday.

‘Scott plan'

Scott played a pivotal role in drafting the police plan that was to be used to attempt to disperse and disarm the striking mineworkers. It became known as the "Scott plan".

Earlier on Wednesday, evidence leaders said they had "very serious concerns" about the evidence supplied by police to the commission.

Senior evidence leader Advocate Geoff Budlender, said representatives of the police had been informed about the concerns.

"It is a matter for the [police] to respond. It is not as though the evidence leaders have reached a conclusion. We have very serious concerns. We have identified certain of them and we continue to identify them as we go along," he said.

"Certain of the matters which have given us cause for concern will be raised in the further cross-examination of [Lieutenant Colonel] Duncan Scott," said Budlender.

In response, Advocate Ishmael Semenya, for the police, said the evidence leaders' concerns would be addressed in writing.

The commission, which is sitting in Centurion, is investigating the deaths of 44 people near Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, last year.

Police shot dead 34 people, almost all of them striking miners, while trying to disperse and disarm them on 16 August 2012.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

President Jacob Zuma established the commission shortly after the unrest.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  marikana inquiry

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