Marikana cops had to shoot, inquiry hears

2014-05-29 15:58
(Felix Dlangamandla, Foto24)

(Felix Dlangamandla, Foto24)

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Pretoria - Police had to use live ammunition in the 2012 Marikana shooting, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

Senior officer Lieutenant Colonel Little Joe Ronny Classen testified that two shots were fired at police as striking miners moved towards them.

He was the commander of the tactical response team deployed in Marikana on 16 August 2012. Classen said the approaching strikers were not deterred by warning shots.

"The dust was caused by us firing into the ground, that is a way of giving a warning," he said, referring to a video screened at the commission.

Classen said when barbed wire was unrolled, the strikers, some of them carrying spears and knobkerries, started to move towards it and the Nyala police vehicles.

Tebogo Mathibedi, SC, for the police, asked if the strikers gave an indication that they would go home peacefully. Classen denied this.


Mathibedi asked if the way police retrieved weapons from the injured strikers was inhumane. Classen said everyone was under pressure, making a gentle approach difficult in the circumstances.

He told the commission he did not use his firearm because he was injured.

Classen joined the police in 1991 and had been trained in crowd management.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the violent wage-related strike at Lonmin's platinum mining operations.

On 16 August 2012, 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police while trying to disarm and disperse them. Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed during the preceding week.

Read more on:    police  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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