Shot Marikana miners compile affidavits

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iol news pic Judge Ian Farlam. INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Judge Ian Farlam during the Marikana Commission of Enquiry. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Three Lonmin mineworkers reportedly shot by police while surrendering have compiled affidavits to attest to this, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

Dali Mpofu, for the miners arrested and injured during clashes between police and striking mineworkers on August 16, 2012, said the statements would corroborate the evidence of Shadrack Zandisile Mtshamba.

The witness had previously testified that police shot some miners who had been hiding and had decided to give themselves up.

“There was sound of gunfire from all sides. Some bullets sounded as if they are so near us. One man said we should surrender. He raised his arms,” Mtshamba told the commission earlier this month.

“He was shot in the right arm and he bent down. He raised his hands and said we should surrender. He was shot again in the stomach. The third bullet shot his leg and he fell down.”

Ishmael Semenya for the police on Monday disputed the affidavits.

He argued whether the three miners would be called to testify against the police at the commission.

Mpofu said the witnesses could be interviewed by evidence leaders and their injuries examined.

Semenya argued that one witness's affidavit contradicted Mtshamba's evidence. Mtshamba had testified that one of those shot in his presence was hit in the left arm. According to the man's affidavit however he was shot in the right arm.

Mpofu argued the affidavits were relevant and admissible.

Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam said the question was whether police intentionally shot at the miners.

“Could they see them? Did they know they were firing at people who were surrendering?” Farlam asked, adding that some of the police were shooting from a distance.

“The statements would not prove that the people were intentionally shot at,” said Farlam.

Mpofu disagreed.

“There is a statement from one witness who says shots were fired at him from around five metres,” Mpofu said.

“He suggests that this was done deliberately.”

Farlam ruled that the evidence leader should interview the three miners prior to their statements being entered as evidence.

The commission, sitting in Centurion, Pretoria, is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed during the strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, near Rustenburg.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers were shot dead in a clash with police. Over 70 were wounded and over 200 were arrested on August 16, 2012. Police were apparently trying to disperse them.

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

The commission has called another witness, Lonmin miner Xolani Nzuza, to testify.

Sapa



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