Cop questioned over police training

2012-11-16 19:31

Rustenburg - A police training co-ordinator was on Friday unable to answer questions on how police performed during the unrest at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

Asked to consider police conduct in light of the training the units received, Brigadier Petrus Breytenbach told the Farlam commission of inquiry in Rustenburg he would not speculate.

"I don't think it will be a fair conclusion, having seen only what was portrayed on television. I don't want to speculate."

Breytenbach was not part of the police operations from 9 to 16 August, which culminated in the deaths of 34 striking miners.

He said he had not attended a nine-day police meeting after the shootings, held in Potchefstroom, which sought to analyse police conduct at Marikana.

Breytenbach gave a presentation on the training provided to various police divisions deployed to Marikana. He outlined what each division was trained in, according to their mandates.

"The training intensity and skill level escalates as the threat level [which each division is most likely to face] increases," he said.

The unit requiring the highest level of training was the Specialised Task Force, as it dealt with high-risk situations.

Their duties included counteracting terrorism, crime-related high-risk operations, and the protection of VIPs.

Recruits could not be older than 32, Breytenbach said. They would be screened for phobias and were subjected to the "vasbyt" test, which placed them under extremely stressful situations to test their endurance.

Initial training lasted for 11 months, then, if successful, an additional five months of advanced training. There was only a 5% pass rate for this training, he said.

Earlier, a person tried to carry a gun into the commission, causing the venue to be evacuated. Commission spokesperson Kevin Malunga confirmed that police were questioning a woman.

"There was a significant security breach and we can't leave anything to chance," he told reporters outside the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

"No witness... is allowed with a firearm into the building."

This extended to police witnesses. The gun was found with the use of security scanning equipment.

The auditorium was declared safe again after a police sweep and the hearing resumed just before 11:00.

The commission resumes on Monday morning.

  • Phil.Kleynhans - 2012-11-16 22:04

    U know what!!! You now use training as an aspect of the Marikana incident. But you ANC buggers should have known that the strike should not have happened and that YOU ANC are the causes all strikes and killings and basiccally you are the actual murderes.Noboby is trained for things getting worse in SA because you caused it and had no preventitive action for it. reason you ANC is to F*#k#*g stupid to know what you cause and damage SA.

  • raj.maharaj.520 - 2012-11-16 22:38

    Much of the recent news this year regarding SAPS made it seem like Police are forever Trigger Happy. In the past people joined the police force, army etc for the love of the Job and performed proudly and honoured wearing the badge, however nowadays it seems like a form of employment since jobs are scarce. People just joining the force for a source of income.

  • jy.wilmos - 2012-11-16 23:44

    The police are trained?? Not much evidence of that, Marikana or not. Is it just me or is the average policeman a large woman who looks like the only most serious complaint she has ever dealt with is about the Spur's chip sauce getting more watery every year?

  • dccouper - 2012-11-17 20:57

    Police throughout the world will be judged as to how well they perform as both peacekeeper and protector. The goal in every society is to field police who are well-trained and led, restrained in their use of force, honest, and courteous to every person. For more, FOLLOW my blog at .

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