'Disproportionate' force used at Marikana

2014-07-30 14:49


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

Pretoria - The force used against protesting Marikana miners, leading to 34 deaths, was disproportionate, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

"If I call what happened on the 13th [August 2012] an overkill, then I don't know what I can call what happened on the 16th," Dali Mpofu, for wounded and arrested Marikana miners, told the inquiry's hearings in Pretoria.

"The avalanche of attacks that were meted out on the 16th to a group that could be monitored and was not posing any immediate danger was, to say the least, disproportionate and heinous."

Disperse and disarm

Mpofu was cross-examining Lonmin security risk manager Dirk Botes.

The three-member commission chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam is probing the deaths of 44 people during the wage-related protests at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

On 16 August 2012, 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. They were trying to disperse and disarm them.

In the week of 13 August, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

Botes said the inquiry should note that around 80% of people gathered at a hill near the mine had been forced to congregate by fellow miners.

"When barbed wire was rolled out, many people left the koppie (hill) on the western side. That showed that those people did not want to get involved," Botes, a former policeman, said.

"I cannot comment on the massacre, and who those people were. I cannot identify who was killed, whether they were with the militant group. I know that police had a plan to progressively disperse and disarm the group."

'Cautious' plan

Mpofu said the police should have adopted a circumspect approach to avoid endangering the "innocent citizens" at the hill.

Botes said he believed the police intervention plan implemented at Marikana was a cautious one.

Mpofu said Lonmin should be held responsible for the people killed at its Marikana mining operations.

"We are going to argue that the Lonmin policy of refusing to speak to the workers was responsible for 41 of the 44 deaths. The toxic collusion between Lonmin and [the SA Police Service] was responsible for over 39 of the deaths," Mpofu said.

Botes said Lonmin security guards did their best to protect life and property, but the August 2012 strikers were different compared to previous protesters.

"I have told this commission that in previous marches the security always interacted with the protesters. The security always stopped in front of the groups and the strikers previously sent a representative," Botes said.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  dali mpofu  |  mahikeng  |  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.