Marikana operation done in humane manner – Phiyega

2013-06-04 13:54

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The police operation during the unrest at Marikana last year was carried out in a “humane manner”, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard.

“A large operation such as that one had maybe one or two errors... and the commission will look into that, but I believe that the operation was indeed delivered in a humane manner,” national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega said.

Dali Mpofu, for the injured and arrested miners, had asked Phiyega whether the police had the correct and up-to-date information before taking any action during the unrest.

Police prescripts required that police have up-to-the-minute information all the time during an operation.

“You are not prepared to withdraw your statement of gratitude towards what happened last year, is it?” Mpofu asked Phiyega.

Phiyega appeared unfazed.

“No I am not. As I said, there is a lot I have gratitude for (the operation).”

The commission, sitting in Centurion, Pretoria, and chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during violent unrest near Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana last year.

On August 16, police shot dead 34 miners. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and security guards, were killed.

Phiyega earlier told the commission she could not hear a word in the video taken by a Captain Rylands when police shot at the miners on August 16.

The written transcript showed police shouting about the actual shooting, with one person saying “... I have blasted him boss ... I have blasted him ...”.

Another said: “There is muti there ... ja, all over the body ... leave it leave!”

A third voice said: “Ja, that muti s**t does not work here baba (man) ... shona phansi.”

Phiyega, who was asked by Mpofu last week to listen to the video, said she did listen, but did not hear a word because the tape was not audible.

Mpofu referred her to the written transcript and read out the statements captured on video.

Phiyega said she had a problem with the version and translation presented.

“The translation given now (by Mpofu) has a lot of gaps ... I was asked to listen too, but (it) came out unclear.

“Today there is a version here that sounds like Fanakalo ... perhaps we might have to get people better equipped to read this to us; further than that I cannot comment on this,” she said.

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