Marikana: Police evidence in turmoil

2013-10-20 14:00

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Commission could recall Mpembe

The man who once broke down during cross-examination at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry is set to return to the hot seat.

City Press has learnt that North West deputy police commissioner Brigadier William Mpembe will be asked to testify about new evidence that has thrown the entire police version of events into question.

The latest startling revelation from the commission was that police requested four mortuary vans and asked for 4 000 live rounds of ammunition for R5 rifles to be delivered at 8.30am on August 16 last year.

Hours later, 34 miners were dead, shot by police.

One man, Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott, has been the one to expose massive holes in the police’s story.

Scott, with 20 years’ experience in the police’s special task force, has had a torrid time on the stand since being called early in September.

After one of the commission’s sittings this week, Scott was overheard telling an evidence leader what a toll the experience was taking on him.

City Press heard Scott say he was trying his best to remember everything and to share all that he knows with the commission.

And what he knows has been hugely damaging to the police.

Scott was called to the Marikana area on Monday 13 August last year by Major General Charl Annandale.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott

The police needed his help to plan and coordinate an operation to capture suspects who had allegedly killed two police officers and fled into the nearby koppie.

Scott is trained in security and antiterrorism measures – in 2010 he was mandated to plan the team security and counterterrorism programmes for the soccer World Cup.

His role at Marikana was to come up with a plan to disperse and disarm the striking miners assembled on the koppie that would later become a killing field.

During his testimony, Scott has admitted that the plan went horribly wrong.

Evidence leader Advocate Matthew Chaskalson asked him who took the decision to move to the tactical phase on that fateful Thursday afternoon.

Scott’s testimony, particularly the information he has provided about the massive ammunition order and the mortuary vans, as well as footage and documents contained in previously unexamined police hard drives, are just some of the issues Mpembe will have to answer to when he returns to the stand.

Tshepo Mahlangu, the commission’s spokesperson, said they had not yet received a request to recall Mpembe.

“There is a process to this. The affected parties would have to make a request and provide valid reasons for asking Mpembe to come back on the stand. The commissioner would then fairly decide whether to grant the application,” said Mahlangu.

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