Pretoria - Some police officers operating water cannon during labour unrest in Marikana last year were not adequately trained, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.
Michelle Le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), cited a statement by Warrant Officer Cedric Fourie.
In this he said he provided a two-hour “crash course” to two of warrant officers from Johannesburg sent to Marikana to operate cannon. The training was short due to time constraints.
“I informed the two members that this was not an official course and that they should attend a formal one at Benoni SA Police Service Mechanical School Ä but none has come to do that as far as I know.”
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 asked North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe if he knew whether water cannon operators dispatched to Marikana had received adequate training.
Mpembe said that as the overall commander at Marikana, he did not know.
“I am not responsible for training, issuing of equipment or procurement. I am the end user.”
The police training division and commanders in charge of equipment would know about the level of training received and the use of equipment, he said.