Lonmin, SAPS Marikana rapport questioned

Pretoria - Evidence leaders at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Thursday questioned several interactions between senior police officers and Lonmin officials in August 2012.

"Mr Sinclair, you were part of a meeting with the provincial commissioner [Zukiswa Mbombo] on 13 August, in the morning. Is that correct?," evidence leader Kameshni Pillay asked at the public hearings in Pretoria.

She was cross-examining Lonmin Group mining emergency and security manager Graeme Sinclair.

The witness responded: "Do you know, may I know, where it [the meeting] took place? May you assist me?"

Sinclair later conceded that he was in the meeting.

Pillay said Sinclair was in another meeting with the provincial police commissioner on 14 August 2012.

She said he had not included those meetings in his statements to the inquiry.

Sinclair responded: "If you know that I was there, yes, I was there."

Pillay said evidence leaders had acquired a transcript of the meetings and Sinclair had made "very significant utterances" at those meetings.

Sinclair said not including the meetings in his affidavits was an omission.

The evidence leader said there were telephone conversations between Sinclair and Mbombo on 15 August 2012.

Subject of conversation

Pillay wanted to know the subject of the conversation.

Sinclair said he could not recall what he talked about with Mbombo.

Pillay said the 15 August 2012, conversation was of vital importance to the inquiry because evidence showed Mbombo spent the day at an SA Police Service national management forum.

"This call was from the provincial commissioner to you, right in the middle of the SAPS national management forum," said Pillay.

Sinclair responded: "Sitting here, I do not recall what the subject of that call was. I will apply my mind to recall. If it comes back to me, I will share the information with the commission."

Pillay said that during the 2012 mines unrest, Sinclair offered a Protea helicopter to police officers. She said Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott of the police special task force testified that Sinclair had offered the aircraft.

Sinclair rubbished the claim. He said Protea Coin security officers offered SAPS the helicopter.

"I might have said we have a Protea Coin helicopter to use, if we need to. I cannot remember every word I said but it was a reasonable thing to put on the table.

"That was the helicopter which my team was using," said Sinclair.

Pillay said evidence suggested that Sinclair drove Lieutenant Colonel Stephen James McIntosh, a police hostage negotiator at Marikana, around "giving him a sense of the area".

Sinclair responded: "I could have taken him around. I could have taken him to the fourway stop. I certainly don't remember taking him. Remember there were many trips I took, with many people.

"If he says so, then I accept that it is a reasonable statement."

The commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on 16 August 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Sinclair will be cross-examined again when the public hearings continue on Friday.