Marikana shooting not on police video

2012-10-29 21:04
Judge Ian Farlam, chairperson of the Marikana commission of inquiry. (Picture: AFP)

Judge Ian Farlam, chairperson of the Marikana commission of inquiry. (Picture: AFP)

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Rustenburg - The bulk of a police video taken on the day of the shooting of mineworkers in Marikana was devoted to areas away from the scene, the Farlam Commission heard on Monday.

"You knew people were on the koppie [hill]?," Dali Mpofu, acting for 78 miners wounded in the shooting, asked a crime scene expert.

"And you knew people were not at the mine's [Lonmin] operations. And you knew no one was at the mine hostels... you knew people were not in the open veld?"

Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Johannes Botha replied in the affirmative to all the questions.

"And yet your video devotes about 80% to 90%... to those areas just mentioned," said Mpofu.

Botha replied that when he arrived at the scene there was no one on the hill anymore.

"People were running in the veld," he said.

The hill was where Lonmin striking mineworkers had been gathering when police opened fire on them, killing 34 and wounding 78 on 16 August.

Botha was being cross-examined after police video footage, which he had taken from a helicopter, was screened at the inquiry. The footage ran for about 40 minutes.

A second shorter video, taken from another helicopter, was also viewed.

Commission chair, retired judge Ian Farlam, asked Botha if the content of the video meant that he had not realised that the "action" would happen at the hill.

"If you did, you would have devoted more time [to the area]?" Botha said he was told he would be filming a dispersing and disarming operation.

Earlier, Botha testified that two stun grenades were shot from the helicopter he was in.

Mpofu asked: "At whom or what was the target?"

Botha replied that it was an operation decision taken by the brigadier who was in the helicopter with him.

He said he was able to see people running, which was visible on the footage.

Mpofu asked Botha if from the helicopter he was able to see mineworkers hiding at the "small koppie".

Botha: "It is too high up".

Mpofu said if the helicopter was close enough to the ground to throw stun grenades then it must have been close enough to see people.

Botha said the helicopter was going up and down, varying the height at which it was flying.

"Stun grenades were being thrown at people so you were close enough to see them," said Mpofu.

Botha confirmed that there were people on the ground, and he had seen people running.

- SAPA

Read more on:    police  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest
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