Of mortal duels and an unexpected lawyer

2012-11-10 16:00

It was a week of two distinct halves for the SA Police Service at the Marikana commission of inquiry.

When the commission began last month, Advocate Ishmael Semenya SC used his opening statement to describe Lonmin mine workers who gathered on a koppie on August 16 as “armed, with dangerous weapons, sabre-rattling, with an intent to engage the police in a mortal duel”.

But on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, it was the police who emerged as the aggressors.

Evidence led on these three days suggested the police have a prima facie case “of defeating the ends of justice” to answer, Advocate George Bizos SC told the commission.

Then on Thursday and Friday, the police hit back.

They presented evidence that showed the mutilated bodies of security guards, police and civilians who were allegedly killed by the miners.

They also showed photographs of the mineworkers stripped naked near the koppie, undergoing a ritual which they apparently believed would make them invincible and brave.

During his presentation on Thursday and Friday, the police’s Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott described a conversation which he said took place before the shooting on August 16 which left 34 miners dead.

Scott said that Mgcineni Noki, one of the leaders of the strike – also known as “the man in the green blanket” – told police they were all going to die and that none of their vehicles would make it out of the area.

“These hippos will not leave this place and you will all die today,” Noki is alleged to have said while standing in front of a police Nyala speaking to a police negotiator identified as a Lieutenant Colonel McIntosh.

Noki is alleged to have also told McIntosh, after the protestors refused to disperse: “We can sign a paper so the world can see how we kill one another today.”

The police did not provide any audio or video proof of Noki’s comments.

The biggest surprise of the week also involved the police.

On Thursday morning, Advocate Lindi Nkosi-Thomas SC introduced herself to the commission, saying she was representing Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said on Friday that Mthethwa had joined the commission after issues arose there “that have oversight and policy implications”.

He said Mthethwa appointed Nkosi-Thomas “so that she can specifically look at these issues”.

Mnisi said Nkosi-Thomas’ sudden appointment was not influenced “by the alleged evidence that is currently being given by SAPS members in so far as it relates to ‘tampering of evidence’”.

He said Nkosi-Thomas would not be interfering or participating in the current legal arguments, but was there to focus on the possible policy and oversight implications.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Woodcock's career ended by injury
Major Payne as Ireland lose star centre
LIVE: Samoa 26 Scotland 23
Jones: Japan can be 'team of the tournament'
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is heightened...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.