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Pretoria - North West deputy police chief General Willam Mpembe allowed his subordinate to take crucial decisions in Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.
He let Maj-Gen Charl Annandale decide what time police would put into effect their plan to disperse striking mineworkers in Marikana on August 16 last year,
Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, asked Mpembe why Annandale was the one making the decision.
“I didn't see it (Annandale setting the time) as a problem. But I understand what you mean... I should have set the time,” Mpembe said.
The police opened fire on the striking mineworkers that day, killing 34 of them.
Mpembe said he had given the go-ahead for the plan to be put into practice but this information was not in his statement.
“The fact that I didn't put it in my statement doesn't mean that I tried to hide it,” he said.
Farlam said it appeared the decision to implement that stage of the plan was already made earlier that morning.
North West police commissioner Luzuko Mbombo had earlier briefed the media, telling them the police were ending the strike that day.
Mpembe said when he heard over the police radio that some of the miners had been seen lying on the ground, supposedly after being shot, he did not try to contain the situation by giving them further instructions.
“Brigadier (Adriaan) Kalitz was at the scene and he was the operational commander.... He could see what was going on... I was afraid of confusing the men on the ground,” said Mpembe.
“I couldn't have given the instruction when I was not there.”
Mpembe said he accepted responsibility for the plan police had intended to use to disperse and disarm miners as he had contributed to it.
“I thought it was good plan,” said Mpembe.
He said the plan had been disrupted.
Mpembe concluded his testimony on Friday.
The commission was set to resume next Thursday.
Meanwhile, Farlam would review submissions from legal teams who wanted the commission postponed.
Argument on the postponement would be heard at the commission next Friday.