SAPS Marikana version thin on detail - expert

2014-01-13 20:01
Striking Lonmin workers (Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo, City Press)

Striking Lonmin workers (Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo, City Press)

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Pretoria - International public order policing expert Gary White has expressed concern about the lack of "meaningful detail" in the version of events presented by police who intervened at Marikana, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

Michelle le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), made the remark at the inquiry's public hearings in Centurion, while cross-examining Brigadier Adriaan Calitz.

"I am sure you have had the opportunity to read Mr Gary White's statement and all of its annexures. You will be aware that Mr White expressed concerns about the statements that have been provided to the commission by members [of the SA Police Service]," she said.

"The first concern is the lack of any mention of certain critical events, where we see an absence of the mentioning of scene one and scene two by the [police] members who were there."

Le Roux said that where police mentioned these scenes in their sworn statements about the events of 16 August  2012, White noted that there was a lack of meaningful detail in the description of how events unfolded.

"He doesn't think this accords with the SAPS recognising their accountability and taking responsibility for the 34 deaths that occurred that day," said Le Roux.

"He also points out that he doesn't think that this is consistent with a commitment to co-operate with the commission."

The three-member commission, which is chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during labour-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, in North West.

On 16 August 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when the police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine while attempting to disperse and disarm them.

Inaccuracies

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

Calitz was the commander in charge of the police operations on the scene on the day of the shooting.

Last week, evidence leaders said they had noted inaccuracies in the police version of events during the confrontation with the striking mineworkers.

Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson SC told Calitz the inaccuracies might have been deliberate.

"I have a range of concerns about the accuracies and I am happy to put them to you. My concern about the misleading statements and inaccuracies is that I am worried that they may have been deliberate," Chaskalson said.

The commission is expected to complete its investigation, including gathering evidence and concluding the public hearings, by 30 April.

Read more on:    saps  |  sahrc  |  marikana inquiry
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