Marikana: Officer in charge testifies

Adriaan Calitz says he never got any report that live ammunition was being used during the operation.

FILE: Lonmin miners at Marikana chant ahead of one year anniversary at Lonmin's Marikana mine where 34 striking platinum workers were shot dead by police on 16 August 2012. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The police officer in charge of the operation at Marikana in August 2012 has testified that he did not know live ammunition was being used.

The violence at the North West platinum mine led to a shooting where 34 miners were killed during a violent protest.

Brigadier Adriaan Calitz told the commission of inquiry that he never received any report that live ammunition was being used during the operation, which was meant to disperse the miners in Marikana.

He says when he heard there were bodies lying on the ground, he thought the miners had been injured or were waiting to be arrested.

He's testified that members in the police nyala he was travelling in were firing rubber bullets and stun grenades.

Calitz was in charge of the operation that day, but so far has offered very little information about what went wrong or why police opened fire at the protestors.

The commission is expected to wrap up by the end of April.