Marikana anger 'directed at police'

2013-05-15 20:08
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Rustenburg - Striking Lonmin mineworkers directed their anger at police officers during last year's wage-related unrest, the Farlam Commission on Inquiry was told on Wednesday.

"When the group realised their demands of R12 500 [a month] would not be met, they started exerting more pressure on the employer and directed their anger at police," Major General Charl Annandale said.

Annandale, who headed the police's tactical response team during the unrest, was under cross-examination at the commission.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during wage-related unrest at Lonmin's operations in August.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers in Marikana, North West, on 16 August.

Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in strike-related violence the preceding week.

Annandale was responding to questions from Lonmin lawyer, Schalk Burger, who asked what went wrong at Marikana.

Union members

Annandale said among other things, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) took workers' demands for a higher wage as an opportunity to gain members.

"Not only had NUM [National Union of Mineworkers] started losing members, but there was conflict between the unions," he said.

Nokukhanya Jele, for the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), asked Annandale about the crowd management training for senior police officers who led the operation.

Jele pointed out that Annandale had undergone four courses on crowd management in his years as a police officer.

Despite this Annandale had said he was not an expert in crowd management.

According to Jele there was no indication in documents handed in by the SA Police Service that provincial police commissioner, Luzuko Mbombo, had ever had any crowd control training.

"Mbombo's history shows she has taken no training in public policing or crowd management," said Jele.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  amcu  |  num  |  sahrc  |  schalk burger  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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