Cops not co-operating with commission - Budlender

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Geoff Budlender jan 17

INLSA

Farlam Commission of Inquiry evidence leader Geoff Budlender SC. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Pretoria - Farlam Commission of Inquiry evidence leader Geoff Budlender SC, accused the police on Friday of not co-operating with the commission.

The SA Police Service (SAPS) had failed to submit numerous documents and recordings requested by evidence leaders, said Budlender.

Preparations for cross-examining the inquiry's next witness, North West police chief Lt-Gen Zukiswa Mbombo, had been hindered because of the lack of adequate documents relating to the police intervention at Marikana in August 2012.

“We require, for the purpose of the evidence of Lt-Gen Mbombo, material relating to the national management forum meeting which was held on August 15, 2012, and what was called the extra-ordinary session. We have been attempting to obtain this relevant material without success,” said Budlender.

“This is not a complaint about lack of co-operation by our colleagues in the SAPS legal team, but I'm afraid there has been a lack of co-operation by their client, the SAPS.”

He said the SAPS legal team at the commission had tried in vain to acquire the evidence on behalf of the evidence leaders.

“We are hindered in our preparation for the evidence of Lt-Gen Mbombo and that fact means we are hindered in our ability to assist the commission in its function.

“We have tried to resolve this matter, but unfortunately our efforts have not succeeded. We ask for the commission to intervene and address the matter,” said Budlender.

The evidence leaders needed information, including agenda papers and packs, which was distributed to members of the police national management forum before a meeting on August 15, 2012.

A tape recording of a meeting of the national management forum, held on the same day, was also requested, but was also not supplied.

“We have been told that the meeting was recorded and the recording has been preserved. We requested the recording on November 17 last year; we have been requesting since then,” said Budlender.

Ishmael Semenya SC, for the SAPS, said he would convey the complaint to national police commissioner Riah Phiyega.

The commission, which is chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during labour-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, in North West.

On August 16, 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when the police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine while attempting to disperse and disarm them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in unrest-related violence.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission of inquiry in August 2012, to establish the facts about violence at the mine that also resulted in 250 arrests.

Zuma announced far-reaching terms of reference for the three-member commission. Among other things, it would probe the conduct of the SAPS and look at the nature, extent and application of any standing orders, policy considerations, legislation or other instructions in the interventions to deal with the situation at Marikana. - Sapa


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