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Johannesburg - The police have lied about what happened when 34 striking miners were killed in Marikana last year.
In a damning statement issued on Thursday, the Marikana commission of inquiry postponed proceedings until next week, after obtaining documents showing that the SAPS version of events “is in material respects not the truth”.
The commission was originally postponed last Wednesday, interrupting the cross-examination of Colonel Duncan Scott, who played an important part in drafting the plan to disperse and disarm the protesters last year.
At the time, evidence leader Geoff Budlender SC said a first look at Scott’s hard drive revealed documents the commission previously didn’t know existed.
Now, the commission says it found:
* Documents the SAPS said didn’t exist;
* Documents the commission believes the SAPS should have disclosed, but didn’t;
* Documents claiming to be written at the time of Marikana, but which the commission believes were actually written later on at a nine-day meeting in Potchefstroom where the SAPS prepared its case ahead of the commission; and
* Documents showing that the SAPS version of events put forward both in evidence and presentation were “in material respects not the truth”.
“We do not make this statement lightly,” said the commission.
“We recognise that it is important that the SAPS should have the opportunity to explain the matters which have raised our concern. However, we have to say that… the material which we have found has serious consequences for the further conduct of the work of this commission.”
The commission added that the information was provided willingly by SAPS members. It will now stand down until Wednesday for the SAPS legal team to regroup and also to examine the new data, which consists of thousands of pages.
“As we speak, the technical people are continuing the painstaking and slow task of identifying and copying the further SAPS hard-drive material of which we will be given copies.
“In the light of the documents which we have found, it is also necessary for us to work through all of the new material in our possession.”
The police could not be reached at the time of publication.