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Scott owns up to Marikana plan

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iol news pic Judge Ian Farlam

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File image - Honourable Judge Ian Gordon Farlam during the public hearing of the Marikana Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Marikana tragedy at which 44 people were killed and scores injured. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Rustenburg - Senior police officer Lt-Col Duncan Scott has admitted to drawing up the plan to deal with striking Marikana miners last year, the Farlam Commission heard on Monday.

A statement written by Scott in November was entered as evidence on Monday.

In it, Scott said: “The plan or strategy that I prepared and proposed for adoption... was the first of its kind.”

Maj-Gen Charl Annandale, who headed the police's tactical response team during the unrest, denied that Scott had single-handedly formulated the plan.

He said Scott had simply co-ordinated and put together what all the commanders had submitted for the task.

“If I asked my secretary to write a letter for me and I put my signature at the bottom, it doesn't make it her letter... it's mine,” said Annandale.

He was under cross-examination at the commission's public hearings in Rustenburg in North West.

Chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, the commission's brief is to investigate the deaths of at least 44 people during wage-related unrest in Marikana last year.

Police shot dead 34 miners when trying to disperse striking miners near Lonmin's platinum mine on August 16 last year.

Another 10 people were killed in strike-related violence the preceding week.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the killed miners, dismissed Annandale's assertion that Scott was not the sole author of the dispersal plan.

“Scott was not just a secretary... This was his brainchild. He presented it to you and you approved it without making any changes,” said Ntsebeza.

“Our submission will be that it's very clear that he (Scott) devised the plan. We will argue that there were no changes made to it,” Ntsebeza said.

Annandale disagreed.

“I don't agree with advocate Ntsebeza. There were other options presented, but those couldn't be implemented,” said Annandale.

“Scott was appointed to co-ordinate the plan,” he said.

Ntsebeza said there was nothing in the police notes that showed which inputs and omissions had been brought forward.

Annandale maintained that there were small changes made to the plan.

In another statement by Scott he said he had been tasked to brief the commanders about the plan.

Ntsebeza said even during the briefing, there was no suggestion that any input had been given from the commanders.

Earlier, Ntsebeza pointed out that Scott was part of the special task force. The plan he had drawn up was to be carried out by the public operations police.

Ntsebeza said Scott had no authority to formulate the plan.

“The reluctance (to admit that it was Scott's plan) is because, professionally, he wasn't the person meant to formulate the plan for Marikana,” said Ntsebeza.

“You decided on Scott (to formulate the plan) because he had certain qualities... There's nowhere (in Scott's statement and plan) that says what input from (the police commanders) he used in the plan,” said Ntsebeza.

Annandale said Scott's failure to mention specifically which officers had aided in the formulation of the plan did not mean they did not do it.

Ntsebeza questioned Annandale on whether the police had failed to hand in any video material they had because they feared it would incriminate them.

According to Ntsebeza, most of the visual footage entered as evidence was supplied by the media present at the scene.

Police gave various reasons as to why they did not have any footage to submit.

Some of the police videographers had withdrawn from the scene after they allegedly received death threats from the striking mineworkers.

Another videographer said he could not use the camera properly, while another said he had forgotten to switch on the camera when the police clashed with the strikers.

Ntsebeza questioned Annandale on whether he would have turned in any evidence that the police had failed to turn in to the commission.

“Would you reveal things that would embarrass the police?” asked Ntsebeza.

“Would you be prepared, since you are under oath and have vowed to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth, to break rank and say (the video material does exist)?” he asked.

Annandale said he would remain true to his oath.

The hearings continue. - Sapa


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