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Pretoria - Police were not adequately briefed on how to deal with armed protesters during the strike-related unrest at Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.
“The SA Human Rights Commission submits that the fact that more than 400 statements before this commission by members of the SA Police Service are silent on how to deal with the small, armed militant group demonstrates that there was not enough briefing about the plan,” said Michelle le Roux, for the SAHRC.
North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe testified that the plan was to disperse the 3000 protesters, isolate and disarm them, and carry out arrests.
Le Roux argued that none of the officers knew how they would deal with the group that stayed behind and would not disperse.
Vuyani Ngalwana, for the police, said Mpembe and Maj-Gen Charl Annandale, who headed the police tactical response team, had already testified before the commission about the plan.
“Annandale also dealt with this extensively, and he discussed detailed dispersal, disarming, and arrest tactics,” Ngalwana said.
Mpembe said all section commanders were thoroughly briefed, and they in turn had briefed police officers under their command.
The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West in August last year.