Marikana: Farlam demands full police co-operation

2014-01-17 15:46

National police chief Riah Phiyega may be called to explain why documents and a recording requested by evidence leaders at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry were not supplied.

Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam told counsel for the police today that he expected full co-operation in the ongoing probe into the Marikana tragedy.

“We were promised full co-operation when this commission was appointed,” Farlam said in Pretoria, where the commission is holding its public hearings.

“Would you convey to your clients that this is the co-operation we require,” Farlam told Ishmael Semenya SC, for the police.

He said that on the face of it, the co-operation from the police did not appear to be what the commission had been promised.

“If that material is not made available to us, I expect the national commissioner to appear before us in person to explain the reason for the lack of co-operation.”

Farlam’s remarks following a complaint lodged today by the head of the evidence leaders at the inquiry, Geoff Budlender SC.

Budlender said the police had not submitted numerous documents and a recording requested by the evidence leaders in relation to the Marikana investigation.

He said preparations for the cross-examination of the inquiry’s next witness, North West police chief Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo had been hindered because of the lack of critical evidence in the possession of the SA Police Service (SAPS).

“We require, for the purpose of the evidence of Lieutenant General Mbombo, material relating to the national management forum meeting which was held on August 15 2012 and what was called the extra-ordinary session. We have been attempting to obtain this relevant material without success,” said Budlender.

“This is not a complaint about lack of co-operation by our colleagues in the SAPS legal team, but I’m afraid there has been a lack of co-operation by their client, the SAPS.”

Budlender said the SAPS legal team at the commission had attempted in vain to acquire the evidence on behalf of the evidence leaders.

“We are hindered in our preparation for the evidence of Lieutenant General Mbombo and that means we are hindered in our ability to assist the commission in its function,” he said.

“We have tried to resolve this matter but unfortunately our efforts have not succeeded. We ask for the commission to intervene and address the matter.”

He said the evidence leaders needed information, including agenda papers and packs, which were distributed to members of the police national management forum before a meeting of August 15 2012.

A tape recording of a meeting of the national management forum, held the same day, was requested but was also not supplied.

“We have been told that the meeting was recorded and the recording preserved. We requested the recording on November 17 last year and have been requesting it since then,” said Budlender.

Semenya said he would convey the complaint to Phiyega.

The commission is probing the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during labour-related unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

On August 16 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.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in unrest-related violence.

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