Marikana inquiry adjourns after gun scare

The Marikana inquiry was disturbed by a discovery of a gun brought in by a woman on Friday. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

MARIKANA - It emerged that a woman brought a gun into the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Friday, resulting in a delay and police evacuating the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

The security breach put proceedings on hold for over an hour while police and sniffer dogs combed the area.

The commission confirmed the culprit was a woman, who apparently had the firearm in her handbag when she passed through the metal detector.

Proceedings had started when everyone was told to leave while police came in to secure the area.

This raised concerns about security at the inquiry, with several key witnesses already intimidated.

The area was secured and the inquiry resumed for a short period. But the commission's Kevin Malunga said the incident would not happen again.

Earlier, the inquiry heard testimony from police officer Petrus Breytenbach about general police training.

Breytenbach came under attack about South African Police Service (SAPS) training and where it went all wrong during the Marikana shooting in which dozens of miners were killed.

The commission was set up to determine if the police were justified in using live ammunition to disperse protesters at the North West platinum mine in August.

Thirty-four miners were killed when they clashed with police on 16 August during their five-week wage protest. 

Breytenbach gave a lengthy statement about police training, emphasising that new recruits were taught to shoot in first 12 months. 

He also claimed the "Use of force" module was a crucial part of basic training. But when legal teams questioned him about evidence tampered with and what went wrong on the day of the shooting, he had very little to say.

The inquiry adjourned to Monday.

(Edited by Zethu Zulu)