Footing of Marikana shooting screened

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IOL pic aug17 lonmin miners crowd Reuters Protesting miners approach the police before they were shot at outside Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg. File photo.

North West - The tense run-up to the August 16 Marikana shooting was relived on Wednesday as aerial photos and videos captured hours before the event were screened in Rustenburg.

The series of photos and videos were shown to the Farlam commission of inquiry into the shooting that left 34 miners dead and 78 wounded near Lonmins's platinum mine in North West.

They were captured by members of the SA Police Service and Lonmin security from August 9 to 16.

The August 16 video showed a delegation of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) arriving around midday at Marikana to address miners gathered at a koppie.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa started off by negotiating with police officers, requesting the use of a police megaphone to address the striking multitude.

He told the crowd the union had had problems getting an audience from the employer (Lonmin) on August 16 because the “bigger unions” were not there.

“They say we are a smaller union and we know nothing. What we know is that we are Africans and we are entitled to rights,” he said.

“We need to be in a position to get residences and being able to send our children to school. They will be in charge of this Africa,” he said.

The striking miners sat on the ground, in the sun, listening to Mathunjwa’s speech. Afterwards, a miner stood up and addressed the crowd using the megaphone.

He said: “If the police claim to have safety, they should go and apply that safety to the employer. We are not leaving this place unless we get what we want,” he said.

“Let them (police officers) go immediately. Those police brought here are going to remain here. They will not be able to get back into that hippo (Nyala). We will finish them here.”

His audience laughed at this remark.

A member of the evidence leading team said the evidence being shown was “left out” during the police presentation of the events to the commission.

Other video and photographic evidence of August 9 to 15 was shown on Tuesday on large television screens inside the Rustenburg civic centre, where the commission is sitting.

Chairman of the commission, retired judge Ian Farlam, asked families of slain police officers, security guards and protesters to leave before the “distressing footage” was shown.

Video footage screened on Tuesday, captured on August 9 at the early stages of the protest, showed the protesters gathered at a Lonmin office in Wonderkop.

The hundreds of protesters were singing and chanting. No traditional weapons were captured in that scene.

A member of the evidence-leading team stated that evidence would be led to show that the protest action started off without the use of traditional weapons, including pangas, spears, knobkerries, clubs, and sticks.

Scenes captured after August 9 were considerably different from the initial stages of the strike. The protesters had brought their traditional weapons with them; some were dancing ecstatically and waving the weapons.

Family members, including women clad mainly in black, stared attentively as the series of videos were played on the television screens.

The hearing continues. - Sapa


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