CLOSE X
Advertisement

‘Poor planning behind Marikana shootings’

Gauteng

Pretoria -

Tell a friend
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY A policeman gestures in front of some of the dead miners after they were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 16, 2012. South African police opened fire on Thursday against thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground. A Reuters cameraman said he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) TEMPLATE OUT

Dubious decision-making, planning, and briefing of police officers led to the August 2012 Marikana shootings, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

North West police air wing commander Lt-Col Salmon Vermaak said he agreed with international public order policing expert Gary White's criticism of the SA Police Service.

Vermaak was being cross-examined by Michelle le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), at the commission's public hearings in Pretoria.

“Mr White states that 'I do not accept that the Marikana tragedy occurred because the police were not issued with correct equipment but instead it occurred because of poor planning, briefing, and poor decision-making',” Le Roux said.

She asked him whether he agreed with White's conclusion. He replied that essential equipment was at the Marikana police officers' disposal.

“I agree with him that there was poor planning and information,” said Vermaak.

“Equipment was available, but it was up to the right people to use the right equipment.”

White submitted an affidavit to the inquiry, at the request of the SAHRC, exploring the August 2012 shootings at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

The three-member commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing the deaths of 44 people during labour-related unrest at the mine.

On August 16, 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when 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.

Last month, Vermaak told the inquiry that police commanders deployed at the mine were not experienced in dealing with crowds and unrest.

“Of the people that I know, it is (Lt-Col Joseph) Merafe... he was the most experienced person in the public order policing unit and Brigadier Adriaan Calitz,” Vermaak said.

“Other people (police officers) from Pretoria that I met, I believe they had never been exposed to the experiences in the mines.” - Sapa

Tell a friend
Advertisement
X