Marikana victims may not have been hiding

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iol pic sa striking lonmin miner REUTERS (File photo) A protester licks his spear outside the mine.

Rustenberg, North West - The positions of most of the bodies on the koppie near Lonmin's Marikana mine did not necessarily indicate they were hiding before being shot, the Farlam commission heard on Monday.

Dali Mpofu, lawyer for the injured and arrested protesters, asked crime scene expert Captain Apollo Mohlaki whether the positions of the bodies, found between large rocks and in bushy areas, were consistent with the idea that they were hiding when they were shot.

Mohlaki, who worked on the second crime scene at the koppie where more than 10 bodies were found, disagreed.

Mpofu asked him whether he would agree that nine of the bodies each had a single gunshot wound.

Mohlaki said: “Not at all, I never counted them.”

Mpofu said one body, that of Thobile Mpumza, was the exception. He had 12 wounds. Mohlaki said he could not be certain as some may have been exit wounds.

At this point a woman, apparently a member of one of the deceased workers' families, began wailing in distress. The inquiry briefly adjourned.

Inquiry chairman Ian Farlam said it was believed the woman was upset because she had seen photographs of the bodies on the laptop screen of the person seated in front of her.

Farlam appealed to those in the stands, who were in possession of such images, to be sensitive to the fact that these would be distressing to those who had lost family members in the August shooting.

Thirty-four miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on them near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, on August 16.

The judicial commission, chaired by retired judge Farlam, was holding its inquiry into the shooting. - Sapa


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