I didn't think miners posed a threat - cop

2013-08-20 14:42
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe did not think striking mineworkers at Marikana posed a threat to him and other police officers, when they confronted them on 13 August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

This was despite allegations that a group of mineworkers were responsible for the deaths of two security guards killed at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West the previous day.

The guards were set alight in their vehicle.

"I did not know who the destabilisers were," said Mpembe, who was the overall commander of the police operation.

Mpembe and the officers confronted the armed miners near a railway line and requested that they leave their weapons.

The miners refused, saying they would disarm once they reached the hill where other miners had gathered.

Police escorted the miners to the hill but when an officer fired teargas in their direction, the miners turned on police.

Two police officers were killed and another was injured during the attack.

Threat analysis

Louis Gumbi, for the family of slain officer Sello Leepaku, and for Lieutenant Shitumo Solomon Baloyi who was stabbed, questioned why Mpembe had not done a threat analysis prior to confronting the miners.

"Before you approached the miners, you had the employer's [Lonmin] and the police's view on how miners had behaved previously... You had also seen video evidence," said Gumbi.

"You had enough information to know that you were not dealing with ordinary strikers but people who had rituals performed on them, and who had killed two security guards the day before," said Gumbi.

In earlier proceedings, it was revealed that a sangoma had performed rituals on some of the miners. The ritual made miners believe they were invincible.

Mpembe said: "It did not come to my attention that this was the same group [who could have killed the security guards]."

The commission, which is sitting in Pretoria, is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed during strike-related unrest in Marikana last year.

Thirty-four people - almost all striking mineworkers - were killed on 16 August 2012, when police fired on them 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:    lonmin  |  police  |  william mpembe  |  marikana inquiry

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
23 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.