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Johannesburg - Police lacked sufficient intelligence on the strike-related unrest in Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.
“It was almost impossible for intelligence officers to obtain information there,” Lt-Col Duncan Scott said.
“One of the crime intelligence heads said he couldn't send his team to recruit informers around the area as it was dangerous... the community was a closely knit one.”
Scott played an important role in drafting the police plan that was to be used to attempt to disperse and disarm the striking mineworkers.
The plan was referred to as the “Scott plan”.
Earlier, Scott said national police commissioner Riah Phiyega had in a meeting on August 13 raised concerns about the lack of intelligence during the unrest.
A plan to encircle a small millitant group who had spent the night at a koppie (hill) at Marikana had to be abandoned after the number of strikers on the koppie increased.
“Helicopters confirmed that the koppie was filled with about 3000 persons on or around it. I concluded that encircling the koppie and forming a filtering line was no longer an option.”
A police patrol strategy was then implemented after North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe gave the go-ahead.
The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the killing of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's Marikana operations near Rustenburg in the North West.
Police shot dead 34 people - almost all striking mineworkers - as they attempted to disperse them on August 16, 2012.
Ten other people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week. - Sapa