'Cops ordered to block Marikana protesters'

2013-08-22 17:31
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe instructed police to block the way of protesters at Marikana, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

Louis Gumbi, for the family of murdered Warrant Officer Sello Leepaku and the wounded Lieutenant Shitumo Solomon Baloyi, read out notebook entries by three officers dispatched to strike-related unrest at Marikana on 13 August last year.

Warrant Officer Tsietsi Monene was also shot and hacked to death that day.

"The group just stood up and started to sing while walking away," wrote Constable LM Mathivha.

"General [Mpembe] instructed us to escort them, and while escorting them, general instructed the Nyalas to block the group upfront... The group started to fight the police with pangas and police died. Others were critically injured."

Another officer, a Captain Jinyane, wrote that Mpembe instructed police to prevent the protesters from moving. Mpembe denied giving such instructions.

"I never gave an instruction to officers to block marching protesters."

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, in August last year.

Police shot dead 34 people, almost all striking mineworkers, on 16 August 2012 while trying to disperse and disarm them. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.
Read more on:    police  |  marikana inquiry  |  marikana anniversary

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