Marikana: Security scare halts commission

2012-11-16 09:17

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has been adjourned following a security scare this morning.

Commission chairperson Judge Ian Farlam was listening to submissions by lawyers about which witnesses they would be calling to testify, when suddenly, less than 10 minutes into the hearing, he announced that the commission would adjourn.

The approximately 200 people in the auditorium, including families of the deceased mine workers, union officials, journalists and members of the public were told to evacuate the auditorium at the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

Commission spokesperson Kevin Malunga said a “security breach” was the reason for the brief adjournment.

Members of the police dog unit were called in to do a sweep of the auditorium.

Malunga said they found “something” during the sweep, but would not disclose what it was, saying it was “sensitive police information at this stage”.

Unconfirmed reports said a certain group of people had forced their way past the entrance where security personnel are manning a scanner and metal detector.

They apparently made their way into the auditorium.

Security personnel alerted the commission that it appeared one of them carried a firearm, leading to the adjournment.

The commission, which started on October 1, has been marred by allegations of threats and intimidation of witnesses.

Recently, a police videographer was ejected from the commission after Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represents more than 300 people who were arrested and injured during the Marikana August 16 shooting, objected to his presence, saying he was conducting an “undeclared identity parade”.

This was after four men, set to testify against the police were arrested while travelling from the commission, apparently after they had been identified during proceedings and followed.

On Wednesday, commission officials made a call that they would apply stricter access control to the proceedings next week.

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