Top cop quizzed at Marikana commission

2013-07-15 12:42
(File: Sapa)

(File: Sapa)

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Pretoria - North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe on Monday faced questions regarding police interaction with striking mineworkers during the Marikana unrest.

Mpembe was on the witness stand at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which is probing the events that led to the deaths of 34 miners shot by police on 16 August. It is also looking into what led to the deaths of 10 people, including two police officers and security guards, the preceding week.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga showed Mpembe several videos and asked him to explain the methods police employed in managing thousands of protesting mineworkers.

Madlanga asked: "General, that police officer we see in the video with his back to the camera is you, isn't that so?"

Mpembe said he was not sure.

"I would know myself general, even if I was facing the other side. Was that not you?"

Mpembe conceded it could have been him, judging from the other police officers at the scene.

Running away

Some of the videos showed protesters running away after police fired stun grenades and teargas in a veld.

Madlanga asked: "From what we can see [in the videos] the people started running around only after stun grenades have been thrown and exploded. It's only then that they start to run around, do you see that?"

At that point, Tebogo Mathibedi, SC, for the police, objected.

"We are not able to see clearly in the video. There is some interruption being caused by the trees. We don't see what's happening on the other side," he said.

Mpembe said it was not possible to ascertain whether the smoke seen in the video was from teargas canisters or stun grenades.

The hearing continues.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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