Cops increased resources before shooting

2013-04-16 22:35
Riah Phiyega (File: AP)

Riah Phiyega (File: AP)

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Rustenburg - There was an injection of police resources into Marikana three days before 34 striking miners were shot dead, the Farlam commission heard on Tuesday.

A document containing the contingency plan showed that on 10 August, the only resources the police had were bullet proof vests, shields and helmets, tonfas, shotguns, rubber bullets, teargas as well as sidearms.

A paragraph in the document instructed that R-5 rifles be kept in patrol vehicles.

The plan for the 13 August had added R-5 rifles and water cannons to the list of equipment to be used by the officers but no order was made for the rifles to be kept in the patrol vehicles.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega under cross-examination at the commission's hearings in Rustenburg was asked whether she had enquired about the extra resources being brought in.

"No, I did not," she said.

She said they were however concerned with how the situation was escalating.

Police shot dead 34 striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikanam, North West, on 16 August last year when trying to disperse them.

The commission heard on Tuesday that 761 police officers had been deployed the day before the shooting.

Phiyega attended a meeting with provincial police commissioner, General Zukiswa Mbombo, and Lonmin officials on that evening.

She said she encouraged Lonmin officials to speak to their striking workers and try to find a peaceful solution.

Phiyega said that before the 16 August shootings, Mbombo facilitated a discussion with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the National Union of Mineworkers.

An Amcu representative told Mbombo the protesters would lay down their weapons that morning.

Mbombo later told Phiyega that the Amcu leader was nowhere to be found at the time they had agreed upon for the miners to be disarming.

"Police were then going there to encircle, disarm and disperse the crowds," said Phiyega.

Read more on:    police  |  riah phiyega  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

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