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A senior police officer conceded at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday that there were inaccuracies in the police version of the sequence of events at Marikana last year.
Lt-Col Duncan Scott was being questioned by evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson SC about the sequence of events at a hill at Marikana, as stated in the police presentation.
“You have specifically told the commission that when (Association of Miners and Construction Union (Amcu).... president ...Joseph Mathunjwa went forward at the hill, members of the protester group were allowed to address the group first. Is that not what you said?” Chaskalson asked.
Scott said this was his understanding at the time he prepared the presentation.
“I do not change from that now. That is what I understood at the time and when I made the presentation,” he said.
Chaskalson asked: “Do you accept now that that sequence of events is incorrect?”
Chaskalson asked Scott why he had made the incorrect presentation about the progression of events before violence broke out.
“Now that I think I have gone through some of the footage in the evidence leader's package. I can see that that sequencing is not right,” said Scott.
At that stage, the commission's chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, interjected.
“The questioning (by Chaskalson is on your understanding. What was your understanding (of events) based on?”
Scott said that, regarding the meeting between Mathunjwa and thousands of the protesters, the police had not concentrated on details like the sequence of events.
“The sequence of who spoke where, I can’t recall that being important to me. I can’t recall that I was concentrating on specific areas (like) who will be saying what, when.”
“... The presentation of the police, was simply something the police put together to assist the commission to better understand from the police’s point of view what happened. There are going to be inaccuracies in that presentation.”
Scott said the police had tried to be as accurate as possible, under limiting circumstances.
“We didn’t have the liberty of speaking to people outside the police, other than watching Lonmin footage. It (the police presentation) was never designed to be scrutinised in the sense of it being evidence,” he said.
“We did as best as we could, but I concede there are oversights in it. We didn’t think that it could matter as much as it does now.”
Farlam interjected again. “You did the best you could? Wouldn’t you look at the properties - the specifications of videos indicating detail like time of recording?”
Scott responded: “Chairman, it was obviously an oversight, because I didn’t think that was important. The properties I was concentrating on where those of photographs, to put them into order.”
Chaskalson remarked that even without looking at the properties of the videos, one could single out the events which happened prior to the others from the police video operators.
The commission, which is sitting in Centurion, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, in North West, last year.
Thirty-four people were shot dead, almost all of them striking mineworkers, on August 16, 2012, while police were trying to disperse them. Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.
The commission was established by President Jacob Zuma shortly after the unrest.