Police decline to comment on Marikana “fall guy”

Police have declined to comment on testimony at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry that a police air wing commander was asked to take the blame for the deaths of 34 people in the 2012 Marikana shooting.

“We are not commenting on that,” said Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale on Wednesday (26/03/2014).

“Everything to do with Marikana is being dealt with by the commission.”

On Tuesday, Lt-Col Salmon Vermaak testified that police had asked him to take the blame for the August 16, 2012 police shooting which claimed the lives of 34 people, almost all miners, at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana near Rustenburg in North West.

At least 78 miners were also wounded.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the strike-related violence.

“In a consultation with the police legal team, it was mentioned to me that I am going to carry the responsibility for the people that were killed at koppie three [hill three],” Vermaak told the inquiry.

He said he made it clear to the police legal team, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, and North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo that he would stick only to the facts.

Vermaak said he kept “clear records” of the strategy by the SA Police Service to place the blame on him. – Sapa

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