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Police to narrate Marikana shooting

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By Jonisayi Maromo

 

Rustenburg - More details through the eyes of the police are expected to emerge when an inquiry into the August 16 shooting in Marikana

resumes in Rustenburg, North West, on Friday.

On Thursday, retired judge Ian Farlam, chairman of the commission of inquiry, adjourned proceedings as Lt-Col Duncan Scott was outlining the police deployment plan of August 16.

He told the commission that the SA Police Service (SAPS) plan for that day included sending 630 police officers to the troubled region.

Later that day, 34 miners were killed when police opened fire on them in a bid to break up a protest. Ten other people were killed in protest violence the preceding week.

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.

Another policeman, Lt-Col Victor Visser, earlier narrated the events which took place from August 13 to 15.

Visser gave an account of the violence and murder committed, allegedly by protesters.

He showed the commission photos of the body of a mine supervisor who had been hacked to death.

“Not the police, and certainly not their co-workers, were spared by these protesters. The body of the supervisor had been hacked several times and a (cattle) skull was placed on his chest.

“There were several other animal skulls lying around in the veld. Whether the skull had any significance or not is not for us (to judge).”

On August 13, Visser said, after police had thrown stun grenades at the rowdy protesters, the strikers charged at police officers, overpowered two and hacked them to death.

Members of police's tactical response team chased the killers.

“The pursuing policemen were fired at by the protesters, using the weapons they had taken from the deceased officers. The group managed to escape.”

Video footage and photographs showing the bodies of the hacked officers were shown.

The first policeman had deep cuts to his head and face. The second had a deep wound in the back of his head and gunshot wounds in his chest.

Visser said police officers in a helicopter witnessed the attack.

Another three people - two protesters and an unidentified man - were found dead on August 13 following the confrontation, said Visser.

As of August 14, the death toll relating to the wage dispute had risen to 10. Sixteen people were wounded.

On August 15 around 3am, Visser said there was an ATM bombing at a supermarket in Wonderkop, Rustenburg.

“At that scene, a police round was found. It was linked to the R5 rifle which had been stolen from police officers killed on August 13.”

Explosives had been used to gut the ATM, he said. Police reinforcements were rallied and 746 officers were sent to the Marikana region around 6am on August 15.

The contentious issue of the muti (traditional medicine) rituals allegedly undertaken by the protesters were also highlighted.

Visser said naked protesters had queued to be sprinkled with muti in rituals purported to make them invincible.

Aerial photographs of two queues of naked men were shown to the commission. - Sapa

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