Marikana: ‘Cops finished off miners’

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IOL marikana aug 31

REUTERS

A policeman gestures at some of the 34 dead miners after they were shot outside the Marikana mine. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/ Reuters

Johannesburg -

Wounded Marikana strikers were finished off by the police who shot them at close range, while others were run over by police Nyalas.

This is what advocate Dali Mpofu said would be presented as evidence at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the killings.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead by the police on August 16.

Mpofu, representing 272 miners who were arrested on the scene shortly after the Marikana massacre, was cross-examining a crime scene expert, Warrant Officer Patrick Thamae, during a commission sitting at the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Thursday.

“Some people were finished off. There will be an allegation made that people were shot at close range and finished off,” Mpofu said.

“There are going to be allegations and evidence that some people were run over by Nyalas.”

In his response to Mpofu’s statements, Thamae, said: “I’m not aware of it.”

Thamae was further interrogated about weapons, including pangas and spears, that were seen in pictures displayed in two rows. Thamae processed and documented scene 1, next to the kraal where 16 people were killed. The dead are among those who were seen worldwide on television as police opened fire on them during the Lonmin strike.

The commission has previously seen contradicting pictures of scene 2, also referred to as Small Koppie or Koppie 3, where some of the 14 bodies were shown in other pictures without weapons on or near them and with weapons in images taken later.

This caused a stir among legal teams, who said police had tampered with the scene and planted weapons on or near the bodies of strikers.

Questions were raised by legal teams on Thursday on why no pictures were taken of the scene before the weapons were gathered. Thamae said he only found a weapon near Body O, which was that of John Ledingoane.

He said that when he arrived at the scene, the weapons were gathered into a heap.

Police have previously explained that weapons were taken away from the bodies and the injured because paramedics were not comfortable working with weapons scattered around.

“You don’t know where the [weapons] were before they were gathered into a pile?” advocate George Bizos asked Thamae, who said: “Yes.”

Bizos, who is representing the Legal Resource Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation, further asked him whether he had expected weapons to be removed before his arrival. Thamae said it was not his expectation.

Responding to a question by Mpofu, Thamae said he agreed that scene 2 had also been tampered with.

Meanwhile, contradicting versions on bullets emerged between Thamae and the police’s lawyer, advocate Ishmael Semenya SC.

“You testified that you picked up two stun grenades. On our count we only have one,” he said to Thamae, who declined to comment.

The inquiry continues.

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