Police cameras under scrutiny

2012-10-30 19:50
Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - The use of police video cameras came under scrutiny during cross-examination of a crime scene expert at the Farlam commission of inquiry on Tuesday.

Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), asked Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Johannes Botha if he was aware that police water cannons were fitted with video cameras at the front and rear.

"I have never been in a water cannon," Botha replied.

Ngcukaitobi asked Botha if, during a nine-day police debriefing in Potchefstroom, the video footage from the water cannons at the scene of the 16 August shooting in Marikana was viewed.

"I have seen no such video," Botha replied.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing the shooting of 34 striking Lonmin miners and the wounding of 78 others during a confrontation with the police in Marikana, North West.

According to Ngcukaitobi, Independent Police Investigative Directorate documents state the cannons were fitted with cameras.

"At the JOC [joint operations centre] meeting it was checked if the cannons worked and could be used for the operation."

He said it was possible that the cannons used could have video footage of what happened on 16 August.

Botha said the only police footage he was aware of was his own, which he took from a police helicopter.

However, he did not get footage of the actual shooting. There were four helicopters in the air that day. Two of them belonged to the police.

Ngcukaitobi also asked Botha if he knew helicopters were usually fitted with cameras.

He said the LRC would bring evidence from an expert that those cameras were "very powerful" and could have clearly filmed what was happening.

"Why didn't you check if the helicopter had a camera?" he asked Botha.

Botha replied that he did not even know helicopters were fitted with cameras. His cross-examination ended on Tuesday afternoon.

- SAPA
Read more on:    police  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry
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