17 May 2013

South Africa: Calitz 'Gave Order to Shoot'

Rustenburg — Brigadier Adriaan Calitz gave the order for police to shoot at striking Marikana miners in August last year, the Farlam Commission heard on Thursday.

A video clip taken from a helicopter that Calitz was in during the police's dispersal operation at Marikana was played to the commission.

"Shoot at the target, shoot at the target," Calitz was heard saying on the clip.

In the clip, he is also heard saying: "Get out there and engage."

Calitz was one of the commanders assigned to the Marikana operation.

Maj-Gen Charl Annandale, who was under cross-examination at the commission, confirmed Calitz's voice was audible in the clip.

"That was Papa One, Brigadier Calitz," said Annandale.

Annandale headed the police's tactical response team during the wage-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine last year.

He said he was at the joint operations centre listening to the police radio when the instruction was given.

The commission adjourned early on Thursday as several people were due to attend the memorial service of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) member, Mawethu Steven, also known as Steve Khululekile. He was gunned down at a tavern in Marikana at the weekend.

Steven was one of several commission witnesses killed in the last few months. His memorial service will take place at the Karee mine.

Scores of mineworkers were expected to attend the service, at which Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa was expected to speak.

Earlier, the commission heard how police officers deployed to Marikana during last year's wage-related unrest could have had more information about what happened.

"I cannot exclude the possibility that some of the 600 officers who were there could have other [pictures and videos on their cellphones] that they did not hand in," Annandale said.

He said the officers were asked to hand in any information they had, but that officers were not required to use their cellphones.

"There's no protocol for officers to use their own private cellphones and cameras, as professional people are appointed for such," said Annandale.

Five police videographers had been deployed to take footage at the unrest. Some cellphone footage had been handed in as evidence at the commission.

Nokukhanya Jele, for the SA Human Rights Commission, said she had waited several months to get the pocket books of police officers at Marikana.

On Thursday, the SAPS handed over around 500 of the books to Jele and her team.

The commission heard the pocket books could contain crucial information.

A typical entry in an officer's pocket book would have information on the post they held on a particular day, and the type of vehicle and firearm in their possession, Annandale said.

"In terms of Marikana, they would say when they went on duty and whether they used their firearms or not," said Annandale.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed in Lonmin's wage-related unrest last year.

Police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers in Marikana on August 16. Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in the preceding week.

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