While Monday's news on the Marikana Commission of Inquiry focused on the funding of the injured and arrested mineworkers, important details of how police prepared for their disperse-and-disarm strategy emerged at the Commission itself: before the killing of 34 striking miners, police asked for four mortuary vans and an arsenal of live bullets.
The Phokeng Government Mortuary occurrence book on August 15 2012 starts with a hanging. Ominously, August 16 notes a request.
The handwriting records a request from a Colonel Madoda, of the police national office, for mortuary vans to be sent to "Marikana police station for any disaster that can occur during the Marikana/Lonmin strike". The entry is timed at 08:30. That afternoon 34 striking miners were killed by police in Marikana and another 78 injured.
The Commission resumed on Monday after a two-week adjournment after evidence implicating police in a cover-up had emerged. Evidence presented showed how the police had concealed sensitive information that might have embarrassed the SAPS or incriminated them and their role in the killings.
The Commission broke to study the thousands of documents that had emerged after Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott had handed over police hard drives. The evidence leaders...