Police 'given food parcels' at Marikana

Pretoria - An entry showing that police officers deployed to Marikana in August 2012 were supplied with food parcels by Lonmin was deleted from an occurrence book, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

Deleted material from Lonmin occurrence books took centre stage at the public hearings in Pretoria when Lonmin group mining emergency and security manager Graeme Sinclair was cross-examined.

Commission chairperson retired judge Ian Farlam read out a deleted entry discovered by evidence leaders.

"Why was this deleted? An entry of 29 August 2012 saying a Warrant Officer Thebejane called to request 150 food parcels to court tomorrow. [A Lonmin employee] Botes confirmed that the food parcels can be ordered for tomorrow morning.

"Hannes Human [another Lonmin employee] then informed the buyer Patricia to order 150 extra food parcels. Why was that deleted? Who was the food parcels for?" said Farlam.

‘Who were the food parcels for?’

Sinclair stuttered that he "wouldn't have an idea" why it was deleted.

"There was no particular reason for it to be deleted. If I gave that instruction, I don't know," he said.
Farlam repeated: "Who were the food parcels for?"

"The food parcels were for our guards. They were for additional people that were around, people we required," said Sinclair.

Farlam asked again: "Did you have 150 extra guards at the magistrate's court. Huh?"

Sinclair responded: "We assisted with food parcels for any police officers that travelled long distances. It could have been for that, or the guards, or our staff."

Farlam still wanted to know why the entry was deleted.

"I am puzzled, I would be glad if you help me out of my state of puzzlement," said Farlam.

No explanation

Sinclair responded: "Mr Chair, I cannot explain why that particular line was deleted. It wasn't significant. I have listened to your opinion very clearly."

Farlam interjected: "It is not my opinion. I haven't given my opinion on this."

He said Sinclair had told his personal assistant to delete other lines but this did not seem to fit in with those instructions.

Sinclair said he could not explain.

Sinclair said earlier he instructed his personal assistant, identified as Amanda, to "clean up" the documents before they were used in "public".

"I think she told herself, 'this is Graeme's instruction, let me take it out'. Did I ask her what exactly she deleted? No, I didn't. Did I go back and check? No, I didn't," said Sinclair.

Intervention plan

Evidence leader Kameshni Pillay said most of the deleted information related to incidents involving Lonmin security guards firing at protesters on several days in August 2012.

She said the complete Lonmin records of the August 2012 Marikana shootings were unearthed in the evidence leaders' own investigations.

"Had it not been for two processes instigated and initiated by evidence leaders, this version [of the Lonmin occurrence book] would not have been before the commission," she said.

"Exhibit XX2.10 is the document that Lonmin put forward as the occurrence book. This was the OB [occurrence book] that this commission was working with for a while until we requested the hard drive of Colonel Duncan Scott and discovered the other occurrence book late last year."

Lieutenant Colonel Scott of the police special task force was in charge of drawing up the intervention plan to manage the strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, in August 2012.

"Until August last year, the version which this commission was working with was the version with significant deletions. Those deletions were made at your instance," said Pillay.

Sinclair said he did not want to comment on what was given, or not given, to the inquiry.

"Whatever I was ever asked for was certainly always made available. For me to comment on that, it would be incorrect of me," he said.