Expert: Police didn't plan well enough

2014-06-25 17:00
Police raid Marikana (File, AP)

Police raid Marikana (File, AP)

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Pretoria - The police were criticised on Wednesday for a lack of planning in dealing with strikers during the August 2012 platinum miners' strike at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

"There is no evidence to say there was a plan," public order policing expert Gary White told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria.

White was giving evidence on a confrontation police had with strikers carrying traditional weapons near a railway line at Marikana on 13 August 2012.

On Tuesday, the commission heard two policemen were killed and one was wounded after strikers refused to disarm.

"If the intention was to disarm and disperse, the operation needed to be planned," White said.

If the strikers were carrying traditional weapons, he suspected they would not voluntarily put them down. If the intention was to escort the strikers to a local koppie, less planning would have been needed.

White said there was no plan as to how the crowd should be disarmed and dispersed. There was also no plan about what to do if the strikers refused to disarm.

White said he was shocked there was so little information.

"I would have expected that there was intelligence to tell who the group was and their intention... how likely they were going to be violent towards the police," he said.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations in Marikana.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on 16 August 2012.

Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.
Read more on:    police  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

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