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Teargas fired by a police officer sparked an attack by miners that resulted in the deaths of two officers and three other people at Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.
North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe said a Warrant Officer Kuhn had fired teargas at protesting mine workers on August 13, 2012, but he was unaware who had instructed Kuhn to do so.
Michelle le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), asked Mpembe if he had informed provincial commissioner Zukisa Mbombo about the incident.
“I told the provincial commissioner, and that Kuhn himself could not say who he got the instruction from,” he replied.
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.
Le Roux said it was surprising that Mbombo had not mentioned the teargas during a media briefing on August 16.
“The SAHRC will submit that during her media briefing, the provincial commissioner did not seem to take into account the use of the teargas on August 13.
“She said 'all of a sudden they (protesters) advanced towards the police and two officers and three members of the public were killed',” said Le Roux.
She asked Mpembe why Mbombo had not mentioned the teargas incident.
“There should have been notes made on that... but I do not know how that came about,” he said. - Sapa