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Rustenburg - A mineworker who was among protesters at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana on August 16 was questioned on Friday about the weapons wielded by the strikers.
Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, representing the police, cross-examined Mzoxolo Magidiwana, 24, about the protesters’ weapons, including guns, recorded on video.
“You were asked yesterday (on Thursday) and you testified that most of the people in your group were carrying sticks. Do you remember? You were asked whether you had seen anyone carrying a gun and you said 'No',” said Ngalwana.
Ngalwana displayed a series of photographs taken on August 16 showing the protesters. He asked Magidiwana to name the weapons held by protesters around him in the pictures.
Ngalwana asked Magidiwana: “That person immediately behind you, what is he holding?”
Magidiwana said: “I can see a stick protruding. On the other (hand of the protester) it’s not clear whether it was a twig or a branch from the trees.”
Ngalwana said Magidiwana would not be in a position to dispute if another witness suggested the protester was wielding a dangerous weapon.
Magidiwana agreed, saying the image was not clear.
Ngalwana continued: “The other person seen in the picture, three persons from you, can you see what that person is pointing? It is a firearm?” he asked.
Magidiwana said, again the picture was not clear, but it “seemed like a firearm” in the hands of the protester. Ngalwana then played a video “to uncloud” Magidiwana’s vision.
The short video, captured by a broadcaster, depicted the man behind Magidiwana shooting at police officers with a handgun. Many protesters were fleeing past him as he struggled to take aim at the officers.
In the video, police also fired a volley of bullets at the protesters.
Ngalwana then confronted Magidiwana: “You do not dispute that this person shooting at police was part of your group. So when you said to the commission you didn’t see anyone holding a gun, that wasn’t correct.”
Magidiwana said: “Sir, I had passed that person (holding the gun). The images were captured at the time when police were shooting at us and he was shooting back at that stage.
“I did not see him (on August 16); I have just seen the event now in the video. On that day, I was fleeing,” he said.
Chairman of the three-member commission, retired judge Ian Farlam, adjourned the public hearing as Magidiwana, who was on crutches, showed signs of discomfort.
Magidiwana previously told the commission he was repeatedly shot and beaten by police on August 16. He said police approached him, asking him where he had put the firearm.
Police have alleged that Magidiwana was shot in an attempt to disarm him. He was allegedly found with a Z88 pistol bearing the SA Police Service emblem.
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 at various institutions, under police guard.
He was charged as accused number 273 of the protesting mineworkers.
A policeman has testified that Magidiwana conceded being in possession of the police firearm.
Another police officer submitted that he saw Magidiwana shoot at a Nyala (police armoured vehicle).
The 24-year-old has dismissed the police allegations as “nonsense”.
The hearing continues on Monday. - Sapa