SAPS: Lessons learnt from Marikana

2013-04-25 20:47
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Rustenburg - Police are reviewing several operational aspects following the Marikana wage-related unrest last year that left 44 people dead, the Farlam Commission on Inquiry heard on Thursday.

Major General Charl Annandale said SAPS realised there were shortcomings in the public operations unit, which dealt with crowd management.

Annandale headed the special tactical operations team during the unrest in Marikana.

He was delivering his evidence-in-chief before the commission of inquiry in Rustenburg.

Among other things, police had noted they had insufficient radio communications and had been working on improving the system for several years.

Earlier, he told the commission that each province would need around R600m to upgrade their radio communications systems from analogue to digital.

New video camera equipment was also being acquired for police to use when attending to public unrest.

"For the 2012/13 financial year, I have made available R500 000 to buy more professional cameras, hard drives, and overhead projectors," he said.

No police recordings

Earlier in the week, Annandale said police had not been able to provide proper video evidence of the Marikana events because one of the operators reported he had forgotten to record the events that unfolded.

Another said he experienced technical difficulties with the equipment.

Others reportedly had to withdraw from the area as protesting mineworkers from Lonmin's platinum mine had threatened them, labelling them police spies.

Annandale said training on camera use and how to capture material that could be used as evidence was now being given to officers.

An executive committee to oversee this had been formed.

Nine other police units would also be established and the shortage of officers in the public order unit would be addressed.

Advocate Schalk Burger, for Lonmin, said he was surprised to hear of this action.

"I thought that SAPS was waiting for outcomes from the commission," said Burger.

He was referring to a response given by national police commissioner Riah Phiyega last week, who said police would wait for the outcomes of the commission before deciding on remedial action.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of people killed in Marikana last year.

Police shot dead 34 mineworkers on August 16, while ten people were killed in the preceding week.

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

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