News: OCTOBER 2013

31 October 2013

On this day, the witness was cross-examined by Adv. Michelle Le Roux, Ms Barnes on behalf of Amcu and Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza on behalf of families of the deceased.

When asked by Adv. Ntsebeza, Col Scott said that while he was in Potchefstroom he was asked by Major General Annandale to go to Pretoria to brief a group of people. He said that it was arranged for him to be flown by the SAPS Air wing from Potchefstroom to Pretoria.

“Upon my arrival, I presented a presentation which was an earlier version of exhibit L,” said the Colonel. When asked if he received any comments from his audience, Col Scott said he remembers Brigadier hunter from KZN saying ‘this was not a POP operation.’ The Colonel also said that Brigadier Mkhwanazi and Colonel Thwala who were at the Pretoria presentation were also available at a meeting where the National Commissioner was briefed.

Adv. Ntsebeza read out an affidavit which stated that at one Public Order Policing operation, some POP members were stationed at a hostel where there was a protest and some hostel dwellers were reported to have firearms but even when shot at POP members stood their ground and never used live ammunition. Colonel Scott said that circumstances surrounding the scenario are not known and that it is not known if any police officer was killed.

30 October 2013

Colonel Scott was cross examined by Adv. Michelle Le Roux on behalf of the South African Human Rights Commission.
Col Scott testified that he was able to deduce from his analysis of the Reuters video clip that the shooting lasted for 8 seconds. Adv. Le Roux said that they will submit that the shooting lasted for more than 8 seconds.

Adv. Le Roux said that 55 seconds after the first call for ceasefire was made, rifle shots could be heard. When asked, Col Scott said he is not aware of any information of a threat that could have been caused by the striking workers after the first call for ceasefire was made.

Colonel Scott said that they interviewed a number of different SAPS officials in order to establish the events at scene 2. “In the first week of October 2012 we called in a group of people, one by one, who were at scene 2 to tell us what they were doing there. It was me, the SAPS legal team and other SAPS officials. People from different teams who were at scene 2 were called in but I was not responsible for deciding on who should be called or for making the call ups.” 
The Colonel further testified that he agreed with Major General Annandale that intelligence was limited for the Marikana operation. He said that there was a lack of an audit trail of the police’s decision and he agreed with Ms Le Roux that there is a lack of documentation audit trail from 14 – 16th of August 2012 during the Marikana operation.

The witness stated that on 13/08/2012 he noticed that emotions were running high and that a tactical action by the police would have elicited a violent response from the strikers. “The tactical response was kept as a last resort for fear of violence,” said the Colonel.

24 October 2013

Advocate Chaskalson continued to cross-examine Colonel Scott.

Adv. Chaskalson said that there were video files which were found in the recycled bin of the SAPS hard drive. The SAPS had said that the files originated with Lonmin, which said they only got the files from the Commission’s evidence leaders. The Adv. said that the evidence leaders had established that the files originated from Brigadier Victors hard drive.

Colonel Scott said that he was not aware of anyone from Crime Intelligence who took videos during the Marikana operation between 13 and 16 August 2012.
Advocate Chaskalson concluded his cross-examination and Advocate George Bizos commenced.

When asked by Adv. Bizos Col Scott said he does not consider himself a management of gatherings expert. The Colonel agreed with Adv. Bizos that a show of force is at times counterproductive but said that it is sometimes necessary. The witness agreed with Adv. Bizos that in crowd management operations a warning should be given before an offensive action is launched.

“The striking workers in Marikana differ from others because protesters normally don’t retaliate when a POP action is started. The theft of armaments of the police officers was also unprecedented,” said Col Scott.

Scott further agreed that disorder in the crowd can be triggered by something un-anticipated, but he emphasised that the SAPS does not have a strategy to punish people.

23 October 2013

Advocate Mathew Chaskalson continued to cross-examine Colonel Duncan Scott.

Colonel Scott said that he was at the JOC when shootings occurred on scene 1. He said that he heard radio reports from Lt Col Vermaak stating that from the air he could see people lying on the ground and he counted about twenty bodies. Col Scott said he did not hear reports over the radio saying that the TRT was coming under attack. “I don’t remember; but if I had heard it then I would have remembered.”

The witness testified that after the shootings on scene 1, Lt Col Vermaak made the call for medical assistance.
“As the evidence leaders we say that it is difficult that the commanders at the JOC did not know about the shootings on scene 1 by at least 16:10,” said Adv. Chaskalson.

Colonel Scott told the Commission that from what he can remember, the silence in radio communication came after Lt Col Vermaak had reported that he saw bodies lying on the ground.

Advocate Chaskalson said that on 14/08/2012 someone used a police radio and it was not a police officer. He further asked why a backup channel was not used after one channel was down for around four minutes. “I don’t think most police officers were pertinently briefed about the stolen police radio. The reason why we did not switch to a back-up channel was because it was possible that the silence happened because a police member may have mistakenly caused it,” replied the Colonel.

He further explained that intra-communication channels occurs within a particular team and are limited due to distance and are unable to communicate to the JOC. He said he could not recall if the commanders knew of the backup channel. “I accept that four to five minutes is a long time to wait in radio silence before switching to a backup channel,” he continued.

On 14/08/2012 Col Scott said he did not know that the Provincial Commissioner was planning to encircle the striking workers and he also did not know that the Marikana operation had a deadline of the upcoming weekend.

Col Scott said that Major General Johnson, who was not working at Marikana, was the compiler of Tampering of Evidence report. However, Scott could not say if the Provincial Commissioner signed off on the final draft of exhibit ‘L’ on 15/10/2012. Major General Annandale and Major General Mpembe and other commanders were some of the people who were responsible for approving the final draft of exhibit ‘L’.

When asked, Colonel Scott could not explain why he did not mention in exhibit L that it took a considerable amount of time for paramedics to attend to the injured.

Advocate Chaskalson presented a photo to the Commission which showed that the nyala which was allegedly shot at and damaged by striking workers actually had the same damages the day before.

14 October 2013

Colonel Duncan Scott from the South African Police Service continued giving evidence under Advocate Mathew Chaskalson’s cross examination.
Colonel Scott testified that he was not told that on 16/08/2013 before 08:30am National Management Forum had already decided that the striking workers must be disarmed. “It was only a few months after the Marikana incident that I knew that the National Management Forum had made the decision to disarm. During the Potchefstroom workshop, I did not know of the National Management Forum’s decision”.

Advocate Chaskalson asked the witness about the removal of a video clip from exhibit L. “The clip shows that by 09:30am the Provincial Commissioner had decided that the protesters must be disarmed. The night before, the National Management Forum had decided that the police should disarm the protesters and that additional resources must be made available upon need identification,” said the Advocate.

Colonel Scott replied by saying that he was not responsible for the removal of the video clip nor does he know who removed it. He further said that he is not able to recall if he was instructed to remove any video.

The witness was asked if he recalled what was said at the JOCOMM meeting on 16/08/2012 at 06:00am and he responded by saying that he is unable to recall because he was occupied with some other work and that he can’t recall the specifics of the meeting.

A number of blank files were created on 28/08/2012 and were titled Briefing Minutes and De-briefing minutes but they were empty and contained no files. Colonel Scott said he was not aware of this and that it could have been Brigadier Pretorius who was responsible for this.

When asked about the attendance list of a special JOCCOM meeting on 16/08/2012 at 06:00am, Colonel Scott said that he is not aware of the attendance list of the said meeting.

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