Marikana cops 'were ready for attack'

2013-05-14 11:30
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Rustenburg - The police officers who shot dead striking mineworkers positioned themselves for an attack, the Farlam Commission heard on Tuesday.

Armed with semi-automatic rifles, they formed their line before any attack against them was launched, said lawyer Dali Mpofu, for the injured and arrested miners.

"Would you agree... that the basic line [was] formed prior to the attack and it was therefore formed for another reason and not [as a] defensive [method]?" asked Mpofu.

He was cross-examining Major General Charl Annandale, who headed the police's tactical response team during the wage-related unrest in Marikana last year.

Show of force

Annandale said he was not entirely sure what prompted the police to form their line at that moment.

"[It could have been] to show force or to protect the group."

He said the police's show of force was meant to discourage protesters from advancing any further. He said the method had been used successfully many times in the past.

Ishmael Semenya, for the SA Police Service, objected to Annandale being asked any further questions about the police line, saying he had not been there.

Commission chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam agreed, saying Mpofu should rather save the question for an officer who was on the scene at the time.

The commission, sitting in Rustenburg, is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed in Lonmin's wage-related unrest 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:    police  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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