'Mthethwa should've been informed'

Ian Farlam says Nathi Mthethwa should've been told that officers were moving into a tactical phase.

FILE: Police look over the bodies of mineworkers at Lonmin’s Marikana who were protesting on 16 August, 2012 for more wages. Picture: EWN.

CENTURION - Retired Judge Ian Farlam says former police minister Nathi Mthethwa should have been informed that officers in Marikana were moving into a tactical phase.

Mthethwa, who is now the Minister of Arts and Culture, is testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry about the role he played in the days leading up to the shooting which left 34 people dead on 16 August 2012.

A further 10 people, including some police officers, were killed in the lead-up to the incident.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force.

Police claim they opened fire on the group after coming under attack.

Mthethwa said he didn't know the police's operation plan but was assured by the national and provincial commissioners that the situation was under control.

He said he was told police reinforcements would be brought in to restore calm to Marikana, but he didn't know exactly what the police had planned on doing.

He didn't know what types of firearms they were carrying or when they decided to go into a tactical phase.

Farlam said National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega should've kept him up to date.

"There would surely be nothing wrong with the national commissioner just informing you as a courtesy to keep you up to date because you wanted to be kept up to date that this was going to happen."

While Mthethwa has distanced himself from the police's conduct, he also said that when they were faced by armed 'criminals', there was no time for them to refer to the human rights charter.

He further spoke about the role played by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a board member at Lonmin at the time.

Mthethwa said he received a call from Ramaphosa about the violence in Marikana, but there was no political pressure for him to take action.

He will continue being cross-examined by various legal teams at the commission today.

Photograph of Mthethwa by GCIS and those a at the scene of the shooting on 16 August 2012 by EWN.