File photo: A policeman fires at protesting miners outside Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg.

Police watchdog investigators on Saturday took further statements about police officers allegedly assaulting a large number of the arrested 259 Marikana miners. The miners are in custody and will appear again in court this week.

Already 130 complaints of police brutality have been logged by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate at three North West police stations.

It is understood several further complaints of police assault have been laid by miners detained at Bethanie police station, the fourth of five police stations under investigation. Mmakau police station was also set for a visit from directorate investigators on Saturday. A preliminary report submitted to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa late on Friday outlines 50 complaints by miners who are being detained at the Mogwase police station, 40 from miners at Phokeng police station and a further 40 from those at Jericho police station.

As a result of these complaints, numerous cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm are being investigated. “Police officers who do not uphold the law, abusing their power and assaulting detainees, do not have a place within the SAPS,” Mthethwa’s spokesman Zweli Mnisi said. “[The minister] said any police officer, who conducts him or herself in a manner that is not in line with constitutional principles, should face the full might of the law and encouraged [the directorate] to investigate… without fear or favour.”

On Monday the 259 Marikana miners were remanded by the Garankuwa Magistrate’s Court.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who says many of its members were intimidated by a rival union, the Associated Mineworkers and Construction Union, into joining the illegal strikers on the koppie, on Friday said it had identified 11 of its members among those killed by the police.

On Friday evening Mthethwa requested national police Commissioner Riah Phiyega to dispatch a team “to deal with local police stations during this difficult time” and was consulting Correctional Services Minister Sbu Ndebele over the possible relocation of the arrested miners. At the time of going to press it could not be confirmed that such a team had been dispatched.

Mthethwa’s office said the directorate had arranged for medical attention for those detained.

Sunday Independent