Miners tell of abuse by cops

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North West -

Marikana mineworkers who have been reunited with their families and colleagues following their release this week, on Tuesday recalled the events of the day they were arrested and later allegedly tortured at the hands of the police in the cells.

Speaking at the scene where they were arrested while surrounded by the bodies of other miners, they gave personal accounts of how they were beaten by police in the cells at Mogwase police station in Rustenburg.

Other miners alleged they were assaulted by members of the Tactical Response Team (TRT) while they were in cells at the Jericho police station.

Reports of the assault and torture of the miners surfaced during the miners’ first week in custody, with the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID) instituting a probe into the claims.

One of the miners emotionally turned back when he arrived at the scene where he had survived, with blood marks still on the rocks.

Johannes Mashabane, released with the first batch of miners at the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Monday, said they were divided into groups of 10 miners to a cell, before the TRT made their way inside the cells.

“There were about 13 of them. We started hearing the screams from the other cells before they arrived at ours.

“They came in and assaulted us in the cells, hurling insults about how we were criminals and had caused trouble at the mine.

“It went on for quite a while. Only after our lawyers came to speak to us did we get to tell somebody about what had happened.

“We then opened cases against the police who assaulted us.”

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, said on Tuesday Mthethwa was taking the Ipid investigation very seriously and was now awaiting the final report after he had been handed the preliminary report.

According to Mnisi, the IPID had not been given any specific timeframes to conclude its investigations.

“If there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing by anybody there will be dismissals,” he said. - Pretoria News

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