Discontent among Marikana SAPS - cop

2014-04-14 13:22
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Police officers deployed at Marikana had severe grievances regarding the control of the operation, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Merafe told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Monday.

"The members were not happy because Major General William Mpembe had taken over the control of the operation on 13 August 2012. It is true," Merafe told the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria.

"The members' dissatisfaction was that if the operation had not been taken away from me, there would not have been the eventualities that happened there."

Merafe is North West provincial commander of the public order police (POP) unit.

Mpembe is the provincial deputy police commissioner and was also overall commander of the Marikana operation.

Two police officers - warrant officers Sello Leepaku and Tsietsi Monene - were hacked to death on 13 August 2012 in a confrontation between the protesting miners and police near a railway line at Marikana. Three miners were also killed in the clash.

Three days later, on 16 August, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine while allegedly trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including the two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the strike-related violence.

The commission led by retired Judge Ian Farlam was established by President Jacob Zuma to probe the 44 deaths.

Last month, North West air wing commander Lieutenant Colonel Salmon Vermaak told the inquiry that Mpembe was overcome by emotion and lost control after the two policemen were killed.

"To me it was clear that at that stage that he [Mpembe] had actually lost control over the members. All the members were just standing around and there was no definite person who was in control of the group.

"He ran to me and said his policemen had been killed. I tried to calm him down," said Vermaak.

"He was totally in a shocked state. He was running between the members saying 'my policemen have been killed, my policemen have been killed,' said Vermaak.

Death threat

Vermaak said he later removed Mpembe from the scene because of a death threat.

Officers were allegedly threatening to kill Mpembe to avenge the death of their two colleagues.

On Monday, Merafe said he did not hear any threats and he did not make any threats against Mpembe.

"I only heard the matter, [after the Marikana operation], when General Mpembe was questioning Vermaak," said Merafe.

He said Mpembe said if Vermaak did not disclose the person who threatened to kill him on 13 August 2012, the deputy commissioner would lay a charge of intimidation against Vermaak.

Vermaak said to General Mpembe "look at the man next to you", implying that the person who had threatened to kill the general was Merafe.

Merafe said he told Mpembe that the allegations by Vermaak were untrue.

The public hearings continue.

Read more on:    police  |  ian farlam  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.