Marikana police anticipated an attack

By Drum Digital
08 November 2013

Police anticipated that mineworkers would attack them during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's mine in Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

This emerged while commission chair retired Judge Ian Farlam was questioning senior police officer Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott at public hearings in Centurion.

Scott formulated a six-point police intervention plan to curb the protest.

"Is it correct to say some of the members of the militant group were dangerous criminals, murderers in fact?" Farlam asked.

"They were people who had shown what they were capable of doing and that had to be factored into your plan: The kind of customers you were dealing with? All the factors were taken into account [in drafting the plan]?"

Scott agreed.

Farlam put it to Scott that, given the charged environment, and the killing of two police officers and two security guards in the days prior to 16 August  2012, it was reasonable for the police to foresee the possibility of deaths during the intervention.

Scott said he had foreseen that the stalemate would not end through dialogue.

"I was hoping, though, that it [the clash] would not happen with members of POP [public order policing]. I hoped that they [POP members] would have managed to climb back into their vehicles and not all of them would have been targeted," he said.

"When it came down to the actual, attempted, high-risk arrests, that is where I anticipated the violent conflict. We have not divulged our tactics for dealing with such situations, because people will just find defence mechanisms for them."

Footage of a belligerent crowd was shown on large screens at the commission. The crowd was shown charging towards retreating police officers.

Scott concluded his testimony on Thursday.

-          SAPA

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