No cartridge cases near Marikana bodies

2012-10-31 14:56
A forensic expert works at the scene of the Marikana killings. (Picture: AP)

A forensic expert works at the scene of the Marikana killings. (Picture: AP)

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Rustenburg - No cartridge cases were found in the vicinity of nine of the bodies found at a small hill at Wonderkop, in Marikana, the Farlam Commission heard on Wednesday.

Crime scene expert Captain Apollo Mohlaki was testifying before the Farlam Commission into the killing of 34 mineworkers and wounding of 78 by police, who opened fire while trying to disperse a group of strikers on August 16.

Mohlaki was telling the commission, sitting at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, about "scene 2", near a small hill where 13 people were killed.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga asked him whether any traditional weapons were found between nine of the bodies on the hill, which were identified on a map of the scene by letters.

Mohlaki said: "Yes." Farlam asked him how many weapons. "I didn't count them individually, because they were just lying around," he said.

Pistol found among bodies

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

Mohlaki also told the commission where some of the bodies were found.

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

"Body D [Mangcotya], 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.

Bodies of miners not shown

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.

Earlier, he told the commission that 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.

Madlanga told the commission that although Mohlaki had photos of the dead miners, they would not be shown.

Farlam agreed, and said some in the public gallery might find this stressful.

Cartridges found

However, the photographs were shown while Mohlaki was taken back through his slides. Madlanga apologised.

Photographs of traditional weapons collected at the scene and police nyalas with bullet-marks were also shown.

Mohlaki said a number of cartridge cases were found, some in clusters, during the processing of the scene at the small hill.

These included a rifle cartridge, rifle cartridge cases, 9mm cartridge cases, a bullet fragment and shotgun cartridge cases.

Mohlaki completed his evidence-in-chief and was being cross-examined by human rights advocate George Bizos on Wednesday afternoon.

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

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