Police take flak as inquiry continues

2012-10-22 22:21
Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

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Police 'deeply regret' Marikana

2012-10-22 14:42

Police bosses said they have "deep regrets" about the lives lost during the Marikana shootings, the Marikana Inquiry heard on Monday. Watch.WATCH

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Johannesburg - The judicial inquiry into the shooting at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana continues in Rustenburg on Tuesday.

Fourteen of the 34 men killed by the police on 16 August were shot in the back, the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, heard on Monday.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, representing the Eastern Cape families of 20 of the men who died, said they were killed unlawfully by the police.

On 16 August the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of striking mineworkers encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 and wounding 78.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks, and iron rods.

The miners went on strike on 10 August, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

Ntsebeza said the police had claimed the mineworkers charged at officers because they had taken muti (traditional medicine) which made them feel invincible.

Ntsebeza said the police's response to the protest was aggressive, misguided, disproportionate, unreasonable, and unlawful.

Representing Saps, advocate Ishmael Semenya said evidence would prove that Lonmin, protesters, rival trade unions, and the mineral resources department could have avoided the bloodshed.

There was evidence that Lonmin had previously struck a wage deal outside collective bargaining processes with workers in July 2012.

Later on, the company "steadfastly" refused to engage workers over another wage dispute in August.

Semenya said police evidence would show that some protesters had wanted a "bloodbath", and that the police had set out to perform to the best of their abilities in a difficult situation.

- SAPA

Read more on:    police  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining  |  mining unrest
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