Marikana planning cop not consulted

2013-10-30 21:46
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - The compiler of a police plan to curb labour unrest at Marikana last year was not consulted when it was put into effect, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott said he did not question when police management decided to move into a tactical phase of his plan on 16 August last year.

He was being cross-examined in Pretoria by Michelle le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission.

She asked: "You were simply informed that you have to move to phase three. You were told that this [the movement to phase three] needed to happen.

"At any stage, were you asked whether you thought your conditions that you had set for the move to phase three had been met?"

Scott said he was not consulted.

"I wasn't asked. I am also not sure that I had to mention those [conditions], being of a lower rank, to a senior officer to say 'this is what I feel, please comply with it before you make your decision'," he said.

"I wouldn't have done that either out of respect for the senior [SAPS] decision-makers."

Major General Charl Annandale headed the police's tactical response team during the wage-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, near Rustenburg.

He appointed Scott to co-ordinate the police's dispersal and disarming plan. Scott was part of the special task force unit.

Scott largely formulated the plan, which was to be used to disperse and disarm the striking mineworkers. It was referred to as the "Scott plan".

Escalated violence

On Wednesday, Scott said that on 16 August, although the protesters were not mobile, he had "a gut feeling" that the threat of violence by the protesters had escalated.

"I had picked up through the day that the atmosphere was volatile. The fact that they had chosen not to lay down arms was already a problem for the police. The gut feeling I had was that things were escalating," said Scott.

"When they [police management] said it’s time to go to phase three, that made sense to me. I could also foresee that if dialogue had ended, we didn't know what would happen that night."

Scott said he did not know that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa was yet to report to police on his interventions to have the protesters lay down their weapons.

"My perception is that if we had allowed it [the strike] to continue into the night, by the next morning we would have a serious situation of destruction and violence."

The Farlam commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin platinum's operations at Marikana last year.

The police shot dead 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, wounded 70, and arrested 250 on 16 August 2012. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

The commission resumes on Thursday.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  amcu  |  sahrc  |  marikana inquiry

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