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Miner was fleeing when shot: lawyer

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IOL jan 29 judge ian farlam

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Judge Ian Farlam File photo: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - Post mortem results showed that slain Marikana miner Phumzile Sokhanyile was shot while fleeing, not attacking, counsel for the families of dead Lonmin mineworkers told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Friday.

“We will argue that it is unlikely that Mr Sokhanyile was shot by anyone who was acting in self defence, even in intuitive self defence,” Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, told the court while cross-examining North West policeman Lt-Col Salmon Vermaak.

“I am putting it to you as a person who was there and you were pursuing these people. There is no evidence that shows this man was shot by anyone who felt that he was in immediate danger and had to kill Mr Sokhanyile.”

Vermaak replied that a protester had shot at him and other officers, but that he had not said this person was Sokhanyile.

Three miners, including Sokhanyile, and two police officers, were killed on August 13, 2012, when protesting miners clashed with police at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West.

They were among 10 people killed in the days leading up to August 16, when 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when police fired on a group of protesters gathered at a hill near the mine.

“Who shot Mr Sokhanyile? We want to be able to persuade the commission and we seek to argue that one can draw a conclusion that the only reasonable inference is that three officers under your command shot and killed Mr Sokhanyile?” Ntsebeza asked.

“Would that be an unreasonable inference?”

Vermaak replied: “There is no evidence that proves that statement, I won't agree to that.”

Ntsebeza said his allegation was based on the fact that no spent cartridges had been found on the scene from where Vermaak said his charges fired on August 13.

“In your evidence, you said your members shot in the direction of a protester who was firing at you. You indicated the place in your evidence where your members were when they fired at the protesters.

“Other than where we have located all the cartridges found to have been used that day, there were no cartridges found in the place where you said your members were when they fired,” said Ntsebeza.

Vermaak said he was sticking to his version regarding the position of his charges when they fired at the protesters.

The public hearings resume on Tuesday.

Sapa


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