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630 police sent to Marikana

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By Jonisayi Maromo

Rustenburg - A total of 630 police officers were sent to the Marikana region before the shooting of 34 miners, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Thursday.

Submitting the second phase of police evidence, Lt-Col Duncan Scott gave details of the weapons and resources used in the roll-out of the police’s second stage of a six-point intervention plan.

“On that day (August 16), we had 630 police officers on day shift and 88 members were for the night shift,” Scott said.

The commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam and sitting in Rustenburg, is investigating the deaths of 34 miners shot in a confrontation with the police near Lonmin's mine in Marikana on August 16. Ten other people were killed during protests the preceding week.

Scott spoke of a high-level meeting held at 6am at an established joint operations committee, attended by police commanders.

“Information was tabled that the protesters remained on the ground and with dangerous weapons. Crime intelligence also reported that the situation was tense,” he said.

At that meeting details of “full operational deployments” were sketched. These included the positioning of Nyalas, placing of barbed wire, involvement of the dog unit, mounted unit, and the air wing.

An SA Air Force helicopter was on stand-by in Pretoria. The plan included detectives, medical personnel, a fire engine and ambulances, Scott said.

The inquiry continues. - Sapa

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