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‘Cops asked why I didn’t die’

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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

Rustenburg - A survivor of the August 16 shooting in Marikana testified on Wednesday that after police officers had repeatedly shot him, they asked why he was not dying.

Mzoxolo Magidiwana, 24, told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Rustenburg that the police had shot him while he lay helpless on the ground.

The officers went around, laughing and using their cellphones to take photographs of the dead and injured mineworkers, he said.

“Those (police officers) who were taking photographs asked me why I was still alive. They kept asking why I was not dead.

“They kept asking about the firearm and the inyanga (traditional healer). I told them I wasn’t aware of those things. Then I was shot on my private parts. They were restrained by another policeman, who said I was only a child.”

Magidiwana, who now uses crutches, told the commission that the police also shot other protesters lying next to him.

“They were people behind me who were also alive. Those people were also shot while they lay on the ground.”

Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the mineworkers arrested on August 16, played a sequence of videos captured on the day.

They showed Magidiwana, wrapped in a red blanket, wielding a stick. He was often in front of the other protesters.

Another video showed several police officers surrounding a group of fallen mineworkers. The police had their firearms drawn. Some of the officers were dragging the corpses.

Magidiwana told the commission that many actions by the police officers were not recorded on video.

Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, adjourned the proceedings until Thursday.

According to previous police evidence, Magidiwana was shot to disarm him.

He was allegedly found with a Z88 pistol bearing the SA Police Service emblem.

The police said he was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was arrested, but could not be detained because of the severity of his wounds.

Magidiwana was hospitalised for several weeks.

He was charged as accused number 273 of the protesting mineworkers.

The Farlam commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana last year.

On August 16, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week. - Sapa


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