Senior cops absent at Marikana shooting

2013-04-24 21:15
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Senior police officers were not at the scene where 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead in Marikana, the Farlam Commission on Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

Major-General Charl Annandale, who headed the police special tactical operations team during the unrest in Marikana, said he could, therefore, not give a direct account of the event.

"I was not there, [North West police deputy commissioner] Major-General [William] Mpembe was in the helicopter and [provincial commissioner Zukiswa] Mbombo was in the [meeting] area," said Annandale.

He was delivering his evidence-in-chief before the commission in Rustenburg.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people who were killed during the wage-related unrest in Marikana last year.

Police shot dead 34 mineworkers on 16 August last year. Ten people were killed in the preceding week.

Annandale said he issued strict instructions for police videographers to record the Marikana dispersal and disarming plan.

He gave the instruction around 13:30 on 16 August. However, the videographers had withdrawn from the area around 13:25.

Recording the event

During cross-examination several days ago, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said the videographers claimed to have left because protesters thought they were police spies and threatened them.

On Wednesday, Annandale said he did not know the officers had withdrawn and thought his message had been conveyed to them.

"We thought they would have moved from where the other media personnel were," he said.

Annandale said police had also not anticipated other problems with recording equipment.

"We thought the cameras in the water cannon were in working order," he said.

He told the commission on Tuesday, that one of the operators of the water cannons said he experienced technical difficulties in recording.

Another said he forgot to switch on the camera when the police came under attack.

Annandale told the commission on Thursday Mbombo was not the operation's overall commander.

"It was General Mpembe," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  ian farlam  |  riah phiyega  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry
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