Cop: Marikana protesters were peaceful

Pretoria - An "excited" Lonmin security manager instructed police to confront a peaceful group of protesters on 10 August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

"It was peaceful and there were no incidents recorded. I was among the protesters while the procession was taking place. I didn't see any threats that they had against us at that moment," said Major Veerasamy Velayudam Govender.

The senior policeman, stationed at Marikana, had commanded the visible policing section. He was led in submitting his evidence on Thursday by the commission's Charles Wesley.

"During the time when you were observing the crowd, did you see anybody in the crowd carrying weapons? Did you observe any indications that the crowd could become violent?" Wesley asked.

"I recall they had sticks in their hands but there was nothing dangerous I took note of," Govender replied.

‘Guard told me to disperse crowd’

"Like I have said, I was among those people and I didn't see threats against us. In a situation like that, looking at the capacity of the protesters, it's safer to let the protesters get on to their destination."

He said Lonmin security risk manager Dirk Botes approached him and urged him to disperse the crowd.

"Did Mr Botes tell you why it was required by him that the SA Police Service should disperse the crowd?" asked Wesley.

"I don't recall why he asked me. No reason was given to me on why I should remove the people," Govender responded.

"He said I must go there and just make sure they [protesters] should leave the place."

According to evidence by Lonmin security officials the protesters had knobkerries, pangas, and spears, and had intimidated mine employees.

Govender said he did not see the intimidation and the dangerous weapons.

‘Guard was excited’

There was a confrontation that evening between the protesters and Lonmin security guards. The guards fired rubber bullets at the crowd.

Lonmin security manager Graeme Sinclair testified that he told Botes to calm down as he was very vocal at the time.

Govender agreed.

"He was like giving me an instruction to disperse the people. I can say he was excited..." said Govender.

He had refused to disperse the crowd, he said.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, in August 2012.

Shannon Moll 2014-08-14 04:26:31 PM
Ya right. About as peaceful as the recent steel industry strike right?
Mualusi Nhlanhla Skhumbuzo 2014-08-14 04:27:05 PM
We're a country characterised by COMMISSIONS. Why can't we just tell the truth and get over with all this? But then, that's none of my business
Nduduzo Lubanyana 2014-08-14 04:34:12 PM
hahaha this is a joke, i do have a TV at home and ive seen what this joker says he didn' see
Nduduzo Lubanyana 2014-08-14 04:34:13 PM
hahaha this is a joke, i do have a TV at home and ive seen what this joker says he didn' see
Gavin Raymond Broncho 2014-08-14 04:37:09 PM
They must have burnt the guards and police officers by accident as they were very peaceful. Why are the mob of murderers being treated as if they are victims. There are thousands of real victims of crime,murder and rape and there is no commission f enquiry. Why are the miners not on trial for murder. It's a joke.
Tyrone Kleiner 2014-08-14 04:43:12 PM
The week must be good in Marikana , this cop is delusional
Abongile S. Ngozi 2014-08-14 04:47:57 PM
Nabo bayeza
Hendrik Johannes van Staden 2014-08-14 05:21:26 PM
Govender is proving that he is a coward and will dance as the strikers want him to dance. He can't see what everyone else saw, even on TV. EFF or AMCU is not going to promote you because they will never have the power.
Ashraaf Fakier 2014-08-14 06:00:51 PM
this site is so divided between black and white. It is a shame in this day and age that our society is so polarised. any life lost is a tragedy.
Mashai Joannes 2014-08-14 06:16:44 PM
Perhaps we should try to contextualize what he meant when he said the marikana strikers were not violent.on his personal account the strikers ddnt pose any threat to his life at the time he engaged with them but then on other cops account,carrying knobkerries,pangas etc was a declaration of violence and war which according to a certain gentleman concomittant action needed to be taken