Cops knew of Marikana muthi

By Drum Digital
23 April 2013

Police officers knew a substance thought to be muti was given to striking Marikana mineworkers, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, questioned Maj-Gen Charl Annandale on whether they knew protesters believed the muti they had administered would make them invincible and invisible.

"They believed that the bullets would bounce off them. They had no fear and believed that the police's R-5's would have no effect on them," Farlam said.

"Did you take that into consideration when you drafted your [dispersal and disarming] plan?" he asked.

Annandale, who headed the police special tactical operations team during the unrest in Marikana, was giving his evidence-in-chief at the commission in Rustenburg.

He said they were aware rituals had been performed on the miners, but did not get information about the supposed effect of the substances.

A white Toyota bakkie laden with buckets had been driven up to the koppie where miners were gathered in the days prior to August 16, when police fired on the strikers.

A traditional healer was seen sprinkling the substance in the buckets on a group of naked men, said Annandale. Police took pictures of this from a helicopter.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the wage-related unrest in Marikana last year. Police shot dead 34 mineworkers on August 16. Another 10 people were killed in the preceding week.

-by Sapa

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