2 minute read
7 Nov 2013
5:14 pm

Marikana attack was foreseen – Scott

Police anticipated that mineworkers would attack them during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's mine in Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

FILE PICTURE: Retired Judge Ian Farlam. Picture: Christine Vermooten.

This emerged while commission chairman Ian Farlam was questioning senior police officer Lt-Col Duncan Scott at public hearings in Centurion. Scott formulated a six-point police intervention plan to curb the protest.

“Is it correct to say some of the members of the militant group were dangerous criminals, murderers in fact?” Farlam asked.

“They were people who had shown what they were capable of doing and that had to be factored into your plan: the kind of customers you were dealing with? All the factors were taken into account [in drafting the plan]?”

Scott agreed.

Farlam put it to Scott that, given the charged environment, and the killing of two police officers and two security guards in the days prior to August 16, 2012, it was reasonable for the police to foresee the possibility of deaths during the intervention.

Scott said he had foreseen that the stalemate would not end through dialogue.

“I was hoping, though, that it [the clash] would not happen with members of POP [public order policing]. I hoped that they [POP members] would have managed to climb back into their vehicles and not all of them would have been targeted,” he said.

“When it came down to the actual, attempted, high-risk arrests, that is where I anticipated the violent conflict. We have not divulged our tactics for dealing with such situations, because people will just find defence mechanisms for them.”

Footage of a belligerent crowd was shown on large screens at the commission. The crowd was shown charging towards retreating police officers. Scott concluded his testimony on Thursday.

North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe will take the witness stand again when the commission resumes on Friday. Dali Mpofu, for the Marikana miners, is expected to examine Mpembe.

Mpembe broke down in tears during a previous appearance. On Thursday, Farlam said the commission would take “a working recess” from December 5 until January 6.

“There is a lot of work to be done in the interim. I hope the counsel involved will start to prepare preliminary heads of arguments on the issues covered by the numerous witnesses that we have heard since November last year,” he said.

The commission is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, in August last year.

Police shot dead 34 people, almost all of them striking mineworkers, on August 16, 2012, while trying to disperse and disarm them. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in August last year.