Marikana crime scenes were 'disturbed'

2012-10-31 22:18
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Rustenburg - Crime scenes where 34 miners were killed in August were disturbed, the Farlam commission heard on Wednesday.

"No blame on your team, but your scene was corrupt?" Ishmael Semenya, for the SA Police Service, asked a crime scene expert.

Captain Apollo Mohlaki agreed.

"We will hear evidence that paramedics asked that weapons be removed so they could do their work," said Semenya.

Mohlaki said he had not heard that.

He agreed, however, that the way the traditional weapons were collected was not the way it was usually done.

Semenya said the evidence would also show that as much as 400 rounds of live ammunition was fired on 16 August between the scene at the kraal and the small hill, and more than 500 rubber bullets.

Thirty-four miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on them near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, on August 16.

The judicial commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, was holding public hearings in Rustenburg as part of its inquiry into the shooting.

Two video cameras documented the evidence collection at the scenes.

It was standard for evidence collectors to take a video as they processed a crime scene, said Mohlaki.

He said he arrived on the scene around 16:00 and left the next day after 15:00.

Mohlaki was being cross-examined after he gave evidence-in-chief on the scene at the small hill. He had led the evidence collection team.

Mohlaki told the commission where he had found bodies lying in between the rocks and trees.

He said no cartridge cases were found in the vicinity of nine of the bodies.

A pistol was found among the bodies. It was loaded with 15 rounds and was lying between two rocks. He could not say whether the pistol had been fired.

Mohlaki said Julius Mangcotywa and Rafael Janeveke Liau were found near a rock on the northern side of the small hill.

"Body D [Mangcotywa], the head was facing the rock; body E [Liau], the head was opposite the rock," said Mohlaki.

The bodies of Thabiso Mosebetsane and Mafolisi Mabiya were found lying between rocks big enough to "cover a body", while that of Henry Mvuyisi Pato was found between rocks and a tree.

Mohlaki said 9mm cartridge cases were found near the body of Makhosandile Mkhonjwa.

He said Nkosinathi Xalabile was found dead at the edge of a rock, next to some trees on the south side of the hill.

"The body looked like it was trapped by a tree. It was lying on the ground," said Mohlaki.

The bodies of Anele Mdizeni and Thabiso Thelejane had gunshot wounds and were found on the ground.

That of Thobile Mphumza was found about 150m away.

Mohlaki said traditional weapons were also found.

He was cross-examined by George Bizos, for Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation, and Tim Bruinders, for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining  |  mining unrest
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