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Marikana: Cop saw colleagues being killed

The North West Deputy Police Commissioner saw two officers being hacked to death in front of him.

Striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine continue to demand R12,500 in wages. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

PRETORIA - North West Deputy Police Commissioner William Mpembe on Friday said he witnessed two officers being hacked to death just days before the fatal shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine in Rustenburg.

He made the comments at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma set up the hearing shortly after 34 miners were gunned down during an illegal protest on August 16.

In total, 44 people died during the strike.

Mpembe said the officers were escorting a large group of workers during a march when teargas was fired and miners turned on police.

When he asked the officer why he fired teargas, the policeman said he

heard an order to fire, but could not say where it came from.

Mpembe said he also saw two officers being hacked to death in front of him.

The deputy added he was later approached by another officer who warned him his life was in danger.

He said officers blamed him for the murders.

Relatives of the officers were visibly upset and walked out the Centurion Auditorium during Mpembe's testimony.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega also testified at the commission.

She defended police, saying they did their best during the three week long illegal strike.

At least three people who were meant to testify at the commission were killed before they could tell their side of the story.

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