29 May 2014

South Africa: Marikana Commission Continues

Photo: Sapa
Armoured police patrol near Lonmin's Marikana mine (file photo).

Johannesburg — The Farlam Commission of Inquiry is expected to continue on Thursday with the cross-examination of a captain who was part of a police reserve group deployed at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West.

On Tuesday, the commission heard that the police had a 100 percent success rate when they asked striking mineworkers to put down their weapons at Marikana on August 16, 2012.

The striking Lonmin mineworkers were more interested in reaching a settlement and going home, said Dali Mpofu SC, for the wounded and arrested miners.

The reserve group was deployed to protect an informal settlement near the hill where the strikers had gathered.

Captain Wayne Peter Kidd agreed with Mpofu, saying the ones who wanted to pass through the area they were guarding put down their weapons and were allowed to pass.

Kidd did not know what happened to the weapons the strikers left before passing the area he was working in.

He denied that he told his colleagues the strikers were dangerous.

Kidd said he told officers the strikers had dangerous weapons.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the violent wage-related strike at Lonmin's platinum mining operations.

On August 16, 2012, 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police, while trying to disarm and disperse them. Another 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed during the preceding week.

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