Rustenburg - Questions were raised as to why a top public order police (Pop) official was not appointed to oversee the operational plan in Marikana, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the deceased Lonmin miners, said Maj-Gen Charl Annandale failed to summon anyone who headed the Pop unit to oversee the plan to disperse striking Lonmin miners.

Annandale headed the police's tactical response team during the wage-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August.

He appointed Lt-Col Duncan Scott to co-ordinate the police's dispersal and disarming plan for Marikana. Scott was part of the special task force. Annandale said Scott was a favourable candidate.

“It was important to have someone with experience in the various units. That would have made planning easier. But there a number of experienced Pop heads present there... including Brigadier Calitz and Merafe.”

The commission, sitting in Rustenburg, heard that Scott had expertise in tactical response, national intervention and the special task force.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during wage-related unrest in Marikana last year.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers in Marikana on August 16. Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in the preceding week.