I saw Marikana strikers being shot - witness

2014-05-23 14:38
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Pretoria - A police officer witnessed three strikers being shot during the violent strike in Marikana in August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

Captain Wayne Peter Kidd said he saw two incidents where strikers were shot by police near Lonmin's mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, on 16 August 2012.

Kidd was part of a reserve group deployed at Marikana to protect an informal settlement near the hill where the strikers had gathered.

When Kidd heard gunshots he instructed his group to move towards the hill.

He said he could see the strikers from his position near the hill.

"They were crouched down, looking at police, tapping their weapons, and pointing at police," Kidd said.

The strikers, carrying spears, sticks, and axes, were making a hissing sound.

Kidd said he saw two men charge at police, carrying weapons. Police shouted at the men to drop their weapons.

"Then two shots were fired towards the two strikers, one of them fell on the ground. The other shouted something and ran back where he came from," he said.

Kidd said he saw another striker carrying two spears running towards police.

"I shouted to police to watch out," he said.

Police shouted at the man to drop his weapons, the man slowed down, and he was shot.

The striker was still alive, a police officer tried to assist him.

Kidd said the striker had a rope fastened around his upper arms and knees. He said he was informed the ropes had muthi.

The commission heard the police did not have loud-hailers. They used their voices to tell the strikers to lay down their weapons.

The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during the violent strike. Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead by police on 16 August 2012, while trying to disarm and disperse them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed during the preceding week.

Kidd's cross-examination will continue on Monday.

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