Bizos blasts police at Marikana commission

2012-10-22 15:58

Veteran human rights lawyer Advocate George Bizos said a police officer has come very close to saying that he shot to kill striking mineworkers in Marikana on August 16 because they had killed two of his colleagues days earlier.

Bizos, who represents the Legal Resources Centre in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, made the remarks in his opening statement before the commission earlier today.

He said he would lead expert evidence according to which the police’s handling of the situation on the day, when they shot dead 34 striking miners, was unheard of all over the world.

Bizos also said it appeared the police had been misled by remarks made by people in high office to “shoot to kill”.

He said his legal team would demand to know who had authorised the use of live ammunition, and would seek answers as to how it came about that a big number of miners were shot in the back.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who represents 21 families of the dead miners, said the conduct of the police on the day was uncalled for, and that they had gone out to destroy the miners like vermin.

Ntsebeza told the commission that he was in possession of evidence that 14 of the dead were shot in the back or in the back of their heads.

He said he would contend in his evidence that death and injury were predictable as a result of police conduct leading up to August 16, and that the use of automatic weapons against the miners was astonishing.

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