Crime scene expert waited for 6 hours

2012-10-31 19:24
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Rustenburg - A crime scene expert waited for around six hours before he was called to collect evidence from the scene where 34 miners were killed in Marikana, the Farlam commission heard on Wednesday.

Captain Apollo Mohlaki said after an early morning briefing at the police's joint operations centre he and his three-member team went to a holding area.

The evidence-collecting team was put on standby until mineworkers gathered on a hill in Wonderkop had surrendered their weapons.

Thirty-four miners were killed when police opened fire while trying to disperse strikers near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, on 16 August.

Mohlaki, who processed the crime scene at the small hill where 13 of the miners were killed, was being cross-examined.

Tim Bruinders, for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, asked who was waiting with Mohlaki in the holding area. He said there were eight detectives and the four evidence collectors, including himself.

"When you were there, did you and the detectives discuss the task you had been asked to perform?" asked Bruinders.

Mohlaki said no, everyone sat in their cars, waiting. When they did talk, they spoke about things such as soccer, he said.

"So from about 09:00 to 15:30, you spoke about Kaizer Chiefs," Bruinders asked, as people in the public gallery chuckled.

"None of you asked each other what exactly you were waiting for?"

Mohlaki replied: "My thought was that maybe the people were still moving because I thought they [the miners] would be surrendering."

Bruinders asked Mohlaki why an evidence-collecting team of four was needed. Mohlaki said he did not know; he was told to be available by Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Botha and that he would be joined by three other members.

He said the team did not talk about how the scene would be processed. Decisions like that were only taken when they arrived there.

George Bizos, for the Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation, questioned Mohlaki about evidence he gave earlier on Wednesday.

Mohlaki said a cartridge case was found on top of a rock at the small hill and a body was lying on the bottom.

"How did the cartridge get on top of the rock and the body below?" asked Bizos.

Mohlaki said he did not know, he was just there to collect evidence and it was up to the ballistics team to make the link. Bizos continued to push Mohlaki for an answer.

"Captain, why are you reluctant to state the obvious?"

Mohlaki said he could not comment on something he was not an expert on.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  amcu  |  num  |  george bizos  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining  |  mining unrest
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