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General in the hot seat at Marikana inquiry

Major General Charl Annandale says he was called to Marikana to deal with the escalating violence.

FILE: Members of the police's tactical response team on standby at Lonmin's Marikana Mine. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - A policeman involved in the Marikana operation told The Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Monday he was asked to deploy more officers from the National Intervention Unit as the violence escalated last year.

Major General Charl Annandale testified at the inquiry about his involvement at the police operation during the unprotected miners' strike in August 2012.

The inquiry is probing if police were justified in using live ammunition to disperse the protesting miners.

Thirty four workers were killed and dozens of others injured on 16 August.

Annandale said he decided to make his way to the mining town of Marikana after he heard that two police officers and three protesters were killed before the shooting.

He said he was in charge of mobilising members from the National Intervention Unit, which is when he realised that the violence was escalating at a rapid rate.

The General said by 15 August, 750 officers from various units were deployed to the area to stabilise the situation.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega was expected to return to the inquiry at a later stage for further cross-examination.

She will be grilled on the police's conduct in the days leading up to the shooting that shocked the world.