Families walk out on cop's condolences

2013-05-22 13:12
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Families of miners shot dead by police in Marikana last year walked out of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, in Rustenburg, on Wednesday when a senior police officer conveyed his condolences to them.

Major General Charl Annandale, who headed the police's tactical response team during the unrest, was testifying about the events at Marikana.

Speaking about the role of the police in the violent unrest, he asked if he could address the relatives of the deceased.

Annandale told the commission he was not sure if he would ever get a chance to address them again.
"My heart goes out to each and every family of anyone who lost their lives... I'm aware of the gap that this leaves in everyday lives," he said.

Broke down, left

Some of the family members broke down while Annandale was speaking. Almost all of them left the auditorium.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members also got up and left the proceedings.

"My wife always refers to this as a ripple effect... I know that this is so much broader than a lover missing a loved one," Annandale said.

"I know there were breadwinners, fathers, sons, brothers and also husbands."

He told the commission the lives of police officials were also deeply affected by the incident.

Dali Mpofu, for the injured and arrested miners, and Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the deceased, noted the families' grief.

Similar reaction

They agreed that the commission was not the appropriate platform for Annandale to have delivered his condolences, and suggested that this should have happened in a private meeting.

They said the commission saw a similar reaction when national police commissioner Riah Phiyega delivered her condolences to the families.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during the wage-related unrest in Marikana last year.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers in Marikana on 16 August. Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in the preceding week.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  police

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