Marikana cop denies being sidelined

2013-08-29 22:00
Police officers at Marikana. (Picture: Sapa)

Police officers at Marikana. (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - North West deputy police chief William Mpembe denied on Thursday, being sidelined during the police operations at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August last year.

He was testifying before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at the mine last year.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers on 16 August.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards were killed in the preceding week.

Mpembe told the commission he had delegated some tasks to Major General Charl Annandale, but this did not mean he was not in charge.

Mpembe was the overall commander during the police operations at the mine last year. Annandale headed the police's tactical response team.

He told the commission he knew death threats had been made against him, and that he had been informed of the identities of the two police officers who allegedly made the threats.

Mpembe named one of them as Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Merafe.

In earlier proceedings, the commission was told that the officers had blamed Mpembe for the events that led to the hacking, stabbing and shooting to death of two of their colleagues.

One other officer was injured in the attack.

Mpembe dismissed allegations that he told Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa he was no longer heading the operation at the mine, shortly after the threats were made.

He was being cross-examined by evidence leader Kameshni Pillay.

Re-examination of evidence

Pillay concluded her cross-examination, and police representatives are expected to conduct a re-examination of Mpembe's evidence on Friday.

The first few hours of Thursday's proceedings were taken by Dali Mpofu, representing miners who were wounded and arrested during the attack.

He urged the commission's chairperson, retired Judge Ian Farlam, to halt the public hearings pending the outcome of court proceedings relating to his wanting the State to fund him and his team.

He said that without the participation of the miners, the commission would be a "Money-kana" commission.

"It would be a commission for those who have money," he said.

Mpofu and other parties were to make written submissions for the commission on their request for a postponement.

Farlam would then give a date when he would deliver his verdict.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  amcu  |  ian farlam  |  william mpembe  |  dali mpofu  |  marikana inquiry
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