Cops failed to follow Zuma's request

2013-05-06 21:37
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Police officials who took part in the preparation for the Marikana inquiry failed to follow President Jacob Zuma's request, the Farlam Commission heard on Monday.

Wrapping up his cross examination of police chief Major General Charl Annandale, George Bizos SC, for the Legal Resource Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation, said: "We will submit that you and the senior officers ignored a fundamental request from the president about what he wanted from the SA Police Service [for this commission]."

Bizos was questioning Annandale on the police's preparation and submission of evidence for the inquiry, which is sitting in Rustenburg.

Annandale headed the police's tactical operations team at Marikana during last year's wage-related unrest.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the death of 44 people during labour unrest at the Marikana mine in the North West.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers, while 10 people were killed in the preceding week.

Bizos asked Annandale whether he was aware of an act or omission by the SAPS that resulted in the loss of life.

Annandale said no.

"Collectively, SAPS accepts responsibility, but I'm not aware of any mistake or omission that resulted in the deaths of the 16th [August 2012]," he said.

He said something the police could have possibly done differently was to deploy more armoured vehicles to the scene before the shootings.

"At the time, we were convinced that we were fully prepared," he said.

Earlier, the commission heard that police officers threatened to kill Major General William Mpembe, following the murders of two of their colleagues during the unrest.

They blamed Mpembe, who is North West deputy police commissioner, for the deaths of their colleagues, Lieutenant Colonel Solomon Vermaak said in a statement.

The threats were made on 13 August 2012.

The two policemen were hacked to death.

Vermaak's voice is reportedly that which the commission earlier heard on a recorded communication, from a helicopter, ordering police at Marikana to engage with the workers at the hill.

In his statement, Vermaak told the commission, sitting at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, that police had said Mpembe would lie down and die with the officers the strikers had killed.

He had advised that Mpembe be withdrawn from the area. However, Mpembe was not withdrawn.

Annandale said a final decision on whether to withdraw Mpembe would have been made by provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo.

Bizos asked Annandale whether the threats could have resulted in Mpembe failing to conduct his duties.

"I had no reason to believe that he had been affected," Annandale replied.

Read more on:    police  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

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