No weapons at start of Marikana strike

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

Rustenburg - Traditional weapons were brought in at a later stage of the wild-cat strike at Lonmin mine’s platinum operation in Marikana, North West, video evidence showed on Tuesday.

The evidence leading team screened a series of video clips captured by members of Lonmin security and police officers.

Footage captured on August 9, during 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.

The team, led by advocate Mbuyiseli Madlanga, had requested to screen video footage captured between August 9 and 16 before the three-member commission.

Scenes captured on August 10 were significantly different from those of the previous day. The protesters on August 10 had brought their traditional weapons with them; some were dancing ecstatically and waving the weapons.

The crowd of protesters marched to a Lonmin office, which was secured by guards and police officers.

On August 11, the video footage shows a group of protesters heading to offices of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). No incidents of violence were captured on the videos of August 9, 10, and 11.

The group initially congregated at the Nkaneng informal settlement “to discuss a way forward”, according to a Lonmin cameraman doing a voice-over in the footage.

Other footage captured later on August 11 showed the protesters marching and carrying weapons.

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

The commission led by retired judge Ian Farlam is holding public hearings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, North West, as part of its inquiry into the deaths of 34 striking miners killed in a confrontation with police on August 16 in Marikana.

Another 78 people were wounded in the shooting and scores were arrested.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Farlam commission heard that a ballistic report detailing how firearms were used during the Marikana

shooting was now ready for collection.

Advocate Tebogo Mathibedi SC, representing the police at the commission, said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) was told to collect the report from the forensics laboratory in Pretoria.

Farlam told Madlanga to get the report “as soon as possible”.

“It is very important for this commission to have that ballistic report. I'm not sure if it will be Ipid or you getting it, but what is important is (that) we get it as soon as possible,” said Farlam.

Madlanga assured the commission the report would be brought in “fairly urgently”.

“It seems there are certain formalities with regards to us laying our hands on the report. We were told that since these (investigations linked to the report) are Ipid investigations on the SAPS, the report will be given to Ipid. We will make sure that we get it soon,” said Madlanga.

Farlam urged Madlanga to “prepare scissors to cut through the red tape”.

Sapa


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