Marikana families not contacted by cops

2013-04-18 21:58
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Police have not made contact with the families of the 34 miners they shot dead in Marikana in August last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

"I haven't reached out to the family members of the late miners," national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said.

She was under cross-examination by Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the miners' families.

Phiyega told the commission she had also not made contact with the families of the Lonmin platinum mine security guards killed during the wage-related unrest.

She had, however, made contact with the families of the two police officers killed in the unrest.

Ntsebeza asked why she had failed to do the same for the other families.

"Community members told police not to come... As police, we respected that," she said.

Asked why she did not make other efforts to reach out by means of a letter or sending flowers to the families for the funerals, she said she respected their space and did not want to intrude.

A report from the families of the deceased miners was read to the commission. In it they rejected Phiyega's apology. They said they could not understand how she could tell police to applaud themselves after they had killed their relatives.

He said the families had seen Phiyega's apology to them as insincere.

Phiyega replied: "The things you are saying won't take away my humility. As much as you try to make my apology into a negative one, I was sincere. Whether it's accepted or not... But what I said, I meant."

She said Ntsebeza could help her convey her apologies to them.

"I have feelings... I understand... And you, as a representative of the families, can assist us in conveying our sincere apologies and condolences to them."

Ntsebeza said police could have made more effort to negotiate with the miners prior to the August 16 shooting. He said a negotiator could have been sent to the strikers to promote a peaceful protest.

Phiyega said the team did all they could given the intensity of the situation.

"The outcome was a product of a disrupted plan," she said.

Ntsebeza concluded his cross-examination of Phiyega and the commission was adjourned for the week.

Louis Gumbi, for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, was expected to cross-examine Phiyega on Monday.

He would be followed by Dali Mpofu, for the arrested and injured miners. Mpofu was in the middle of his cross-examination when the commission adjourned two weeks ago.

He was stabbed in East London in an apparent robbery on 11 April and has been absent from the proceedings. He is expected to rejoin the commission on Monday.

The commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam and sitting in Rustenburg, is investigating the deaths of the 34 miners and those of 10 other people killed during protests the preceding week.

Read more on:    police  |  popcru  |  riah phiyega  |  dumisa ntsebeza  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

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