'We were overpowered by Marikana miners'

Retired Judge Ian Farlam and commissioners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana shooting on 3 October 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna.

RUSTENBURG - Police on Thursday revealed their operational plan at Marikana, which aimed to negotiate a peaceful solution and disarm Lonmin miners during the wage protests.

Evidence was presented at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on the days leading up to the bloodbath, where 34 miners were gunned down during a clash with police on 16 August. 

Police testified that they watched their colleagues being hacked to death from a helicopter that circled Lonmin's Marikana mine.

Disturbing footage of two policemen being murdered by miners was also shown to the commission.

The officers were apparently overpowered by miners, after they pleaded with them to hand over their weapons.

Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Visser testified that their plan of action focused on bringing in reinforcements to negotiate a peaceful solution.

He said it was agreed police would only resort to a tactical response if the protesters refused to back down.

The inquiry is held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, where the commission, as led by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is probing the violence that occurred at Marikana in August. 

(Edited by Katleho Mogase)