Marikana: Police slammed for lack of intelligence, poor planning

2014-06-26 17:23

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The police’s shocking lack of state intelligence has been blamed for their failure in Marikana that led to 44 people being killed in August 2012.

Gary White, a policing expert from Northern Ireland, has been giving evidence at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on behalf of the South African Human Rights Commission.

He criticised the police for their lack of intelligence gathering, no back up plans, and poor communication between officers.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, on behalf of the police, asked White if he had researched the role of other role players besides the police.

White simply responded that he had little expertise with regard to industrial disputes as his expertise lies in policing.

He said the police can be criticised on a number of issues on the planning of the operations on August 13 to 16 in 2012

“First, there appears to have been a lack of effective intelligence gathering. Secondly, it now appears that there was no clear comprehensive written operational plan for the operation of August 16 2012. Thirdly, the plan finally adopted for August 16 was deficient in a number of key respects and carried a high risk that potentially lethal force could be required,” he said.

Most of his testimony today was based on the actions and failures of deputy police commissioner William Mpembe, Brigadier Adriaan Calitz and the officer who hatched the plan, Lieutenant Duncan Scott.

He also focused on how the police had little to no intelligence on what the miners were planning and what was happening on the koppie.

“This operation was handicapped due to the little intelligence. There were two to three items of information regarded as intelligence. I was surprised to learn how little there was.”

He said he hasn’t been given reasons why there were two or three pieces of intelligence before making plans.

“At no stage in my statement do I seek to question or minimise the nature of the potential threat known to police. My criticism is the response to that potential threat,” said White.

Semenya said the police were dealing with an abnormal situation and also argued that the strikers had murderous intent toward the police.

“The evidence we are told is that the 300 or 400 of them [striking miners] were to go around the kraal on the 16th. Mr Noki told them that they don’t have to run and that they are going home. They all agreed. They were acting as a single band with murderous intent,” said Semenya.

The commission continues tomorrow.

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