Mpofu calls for Marikana cops to be charged with murder

The operational police commander during the Marikana shootings must be charged with murder, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Dali Mpofu SC representing the wounded and arrested Lonmin miners at the inquiry, said Brigadier Adriaan Calitz issued orders that his clients be killed and he should now face the consequences.

"This commission … is duty bound to make recommendations for criminal prosecutions. I will recommend that you, among other people, be charged with murder of at least the people killed at scene one," Mpofu said.

"You gave the instructions to kill. I have been trying to demonstrate to you that such killing was not reasonably justified. Your instructions would attract the charge of murder."

Calitz said his hands were clean and he did not agree with Mpofu. "I can only say I differ totally from what you are saying …

"The murders that you are speaking about are [recorded] clearly on video. No instructions were given there and that is referred to as self-defence," said Calitz.

The commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing the deaths of 44 people during labour unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

Striking miners
On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when the police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine. 

They were trying to disperse and disarm them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

Earlier, Mpofu said Calitz had coached the police officers who were involved in the Marikana shootings.

"One of the things I am going to argue about what you said at that parade is that it was intended to poison the minds of the police by suggesting what the official [police] line is," Mpofu said.

"You were saying there is going to be this commission and our line is going to be self-defence. Your intention was to disseminate to the group that your defence [at Marikana] was self-defence."

Mpofu read out extracts from Calitz's speech to his subordinates, which he made shortly after President Jacob Zuma established the three-member commission of inquiry in August 2012.

"Self-defence, alright? So on that nothing, nothing was wrong. You acted and it was justified, and that is the commitment and co-operation that we are going to give to the people [commission]," Mpofu read from a transcript of Calitz's speech.

"What you were doing here was to say to the people [police], this is what happened. You were saying to them, what I have just told you now is exactly the commitment we are going to give to the commission of inquiry." 

'Nothing to hide'
Calitz denied "schooling" the junior officers. 

"I told them you have nothing to hide, specifically to the TRT [tactical response team]," he said.

Unconvinced, Mpofu went on: "In pursuance of that argument, I am going to argue that there was no need for you to spell things out, apart from trying to be schooling these people on what they have to say to the commission.

"These people were there after all. You suggested the theory of self-defence to the members. You were schooling them," said Mpofu.

Calitz said he made the remarks for the benefit of new officers who had joined the parade. – Sapa

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