Marikana: Did Julius Malema impact top cop’s decisions?

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s views on the nationalisation of mines could have influenced the decision of the police to act on August 16 2012 in Marikana, the Marikana commission of inquiry has heard.

North West Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo continued to give evidence today about the events leading up to the shooting of 34 miners.

Evidence leader Advocate Geoff Budlender grilled the provincial commissioner about a meeting she had had with Lonmin management two days before 34 miners were killed.

According to the minutes of the meeting, she had said: "Mr Malema's view on nationalisation ... so it has got serious political connotation that we need to take into account but which we need to find a way of defusing ... hence I just told these guys that we need to act as such that we kill this thing (sic)."

Budlender wanted to know why Malema’s views on nationalisation were relevant to Mbombo’s decision.

"It was not his opinion on nationalisation of mines that would influence my decisions. It was about him personally ... we looked at all opinions of those who could have come there to give assistance," said Mbombo.

She also said: "I had to find out if Lonmin didn't think that nationalisation would have been one of the reasons there was this situation. The nationalisation issue was already being mentioned in the political circles," said Mbombo.

Mbombo added that Malema's presence in Marikana could have escalated matters.

But commission chairperson retired judge Ian Farlam said the minutes of the meeting appeared to indicate that “it would be a problem if Malema would be the one who diffuses the situation. You don't appear to be concerned that Malema would make things worse, you appear to be concerned that Malema would come and diffuse this thing."

Budlender further cross-examined Mbombo about omissions from both her statement and that of SAPS. He said it would be his submission to the commission that the SAPS had omitted information on purpose.

Both statements failed to mention when or how she took the decision that it was D-day on August 16 or that there had been an extraordinary national management forum meeting, which was attended by 13 other high-ranking SAPS officials, to discuss Marikana.

"It was a mistake. Some of the things were being remembered as I was writing the statement. At the time I was writing this statement I could have forgotten some things ... [in September 2012] I had not remembered that there was the meeting," she said.

The commission’s hearings will resume on Thursday.

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