Cops didn't know Marikana protesters

2013-08-26 13:23
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - Police did not know who the Marikana protesters were or where they came from, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

"We did not know who they were or from which areas they came from specifically," said North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe.

Michelle Le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission [SAHRC], asked Mpembe if the police had any intelligence as to who the protesters were.

The intelligence that the police had was lacking, she said.

Commission chairperson retired judge Ian Farlam asked Mpembe whether platinum producer Lonmin could not help in identifying the protesters through photographs and video clips.

"At least those who were up front shown licking their assegais and slamming their weapons together; couldn't Lonmin identify them?" asked Farlam.

Mpembe said the police could not get help from Lonmin.

"When we contacted Lonmin, they told us they were afraid to tell us who the protesters were... they told us not to inquire further about that."

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, in August last year.

Police shot dead 34 people, almost all striking mineworkers, on 16 August 2012, while trying to disperse and disarm them.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed the preceding week.
Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  sahrc  |  marikana inquiry

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