Marikana: Deputy police chief 'lost control'

Deputy Provincial Commissioner William Mpembe appeared to have lost control of his members on the scene.

FILE: Salmon Vermaak says William Mpembe appeared to have lost control of his members on the scene. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard the commanding police officer at Marikana seemed to have lost control after two other officers were hacked to death by miners in August 2012.

The commission was set up by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the killing of 34 striking miners by police and the killing of 10 other people in the weeks following the shootings.

Lieutenant Colonel Salmon Vermaak testified how the North West's Deputy Police Commissioner reacted after his officers were killed.

Vermaak said the senior policeman in charge, William Mpembe, appeared shocked after realising two men had been hacked to death and ran around shouting "my policemen have been killed".

Mpembe was later removed from the area.

Vermaak said this was because of a threat to his life by other officers who were angry that their colleagues had been murdered.

Last week, the police's legal team warned the commission that witnesses would be reluctant to testify if the identity of a protester, known only as Mr X, was not kept confidential.

Mr X was a protester during the Marikana shooting and is likely to implicate his fellow protesters, which could in turn lead to possible criminal prosecution.

The police said the man would give incriminating evidence showing that protesters planned to attack officers in the days leading up to the shooting.

The commission will resume on Wednesday morning.