Marikana police ops under spotlight

2013-05-27 22:19
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The police operations that led to a deadly clash at Marikana, in North West, last year came under the spotlight at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Monday.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega was being cross-examined by Dali Mpofu, for the miners who were wounded and arrested that day.

She denied knowing anything about the implementation of what had been referred to as stage three - when the police opened fire on the miners, killing 34 of them.

The commission is investigating the circumstances surrounding these deaths, and those of 10 more people, including two policemen, in the week before the 16 August clash, in strike-related violence near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.

Mpofu said stage three was implemented after Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa failed to get the striking miners lay down their arms.

Order not carried out

He said North West police commissioner General Zukiswa Mbambo had mistakenly been under the impression that an undertaking to lay down arms existed, but had not been carried out.

"Had you known - at that time when Mbambo informed you about moving into stage three because she wrongly believed there had been an undertaking - would you have said 'hang on, let us give peace a chance'?" asked Mpofu.

Phiyega said the question was a "contested issue”.

"General Mbambo is still going to testify and she must be given a chance to answer that," she said.

The commission's chairperson, retired Judge Ian Farlam, asked her what she would have done if she had know about the actual turn of events.

"Particularly for that 'if' factor, I cannot answer that," said Phiyega.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  amcu  |  ian farlam  |  riah phiyega  |  dali mpofu  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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