Latest Marikana strike different - cop

2014-01-23 13:13
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Mineworkers protest in Marikana

Disgruntled mineworkers are marching to Wonderkop stadium on the first day of a wage strike on platinum mines in the North West. See all the pictures here.

Pretoria - An ongoing strike at Rustenburg platinum mines is totally different from the August 2012 protests that left 44 people dead, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

This emerged during the cross-examination of Brigadier Adriaan Calitz, the police operational commander during the Marikana shooting of 2012.

Dali Mpofu, SC, for wounded and arrested miners, asked him whether police would intervene to end the current strike at platinum mines.

Mpofu said there was general apprehension among his clients and a broad spectrum of South Africans about what would happen at the strike in view of the 2012 events.

Bad cops

Calitz said he believed there would be no action by the police to intervene as this would amount to flouting the strikers’ constitutional right to protest.

Mpofu responded: "A reasonable South African citizen would gain cold comfort from that assurance.

"Those same policemen who will be facing the people today (during the strike) last week killed four people who were not in possession of dangerous weapons."

Mpofu was referring to police action in Mothutlung near Brits which resulted in the deaths of four people during a protest over access to water.

Calitz said he did not believe the same officers who intervened at Mothutlung would be deployed to Marikana.

"According to the information I have, the people (police) who were involved last week were taken for treatment," he said.

"In this case (the current strike), this is a protected strike, totally different from what happened in Marikana. This one is just going to be monitored and videographed."

Protester shot in the head

Last week, two protesters were shot dead, allegedly by police. Another man died after falling out of a moving police vehicle in a bid to escape, according to police.

North West police on Monday said a fourth man had died.

The man was reportedly shot in the head and taken to Ga-Rankuwa hospital where the bullet was removed. He died in hospital on Sunday.

The commission of inquiry, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing the deaths of 44 people during labour unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

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