Expert witness defends Marikana police

A public order policing expert says he cannot criticise everything police did at Marikana.

Police open fire at protesting workers at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, North West on 16 August, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

RUSTENBURG - A public order policing expert has admitted the police's operation at Marikana failed, but has defended some of their actions.

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Rustenburg is investigating the lawfulness of the police's conduct at the platinum mine in August, when 34 protesting Lonmin miners were gunned down.

Brigadier Zephaniah Mkhwanazi on Thursday commended the police's conduct in the days leading up to the shooting, saying they communicated well with the protesters to try and negotiate a truce.

But Mkhwanazi admitted their initial plan did not go ahead as they had hoped.

He said police had agreed there would be a "let-down of arms", but that never happened.

"All that we had planned for that day never actually succeeded."

Mkhwanazi said he could not criticise everything police did at Marikana because operations he saw being carried out were "standard procedure".

Today he will be giving the commission suggestions on what the police could have done differently to avoid to the killings.

Lonmin miners were protesting that management agree to hike their monthly salaries to R12,500.