Some Marikana victims shot in head, inquiry hears

2013-12-04 14:31
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Several Marikana mineworkers were shot in the head on 16 August last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

"We want to show that according to the [post mortem] records, fatal wounds that were sustained by all the 16 people who were killed at scene were in the upper body," Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza told the commission.

Ntsebeza, for the families of the deceased mineworkers, was about to cross examine Brigadier Adriaan Calitz on the methods police use to quell violent wage strikes.

Before details of post mortem exams were read out at the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria, relatives of the deceased were warned about their graphic content.

"The name of the deceased is Patrick Akhona Jijase, he was a 26-year-old rock drill operator. This report says 'gunshot wound in the head'. On the forensic findings it says 'shot in the back of the head, arm and chest," Ntsebeza read.

Calitz did not dispute this. He said the forensic reports also indicated that Jijase's body had fresh marks made by a traditional healer.

"I hope the brigadier is not suggesting that the traditional marks were the cause of death," Ntsebeza replied.

He continued to the report on 41-year-old Mphangeli Tukuza.

"The report says gunshot wound to head, entrance wound at earlobe, exit wound [of bullet] over left eye. Two toes missing on right foot. Do you see that?"

Calitz said he did.

Ntsebeza told Calitz to ignore the post mortem findings indicating the fresh traditional healer markings on the man's neck, spine, knees, and legs.

Ntsebeza said the report indicated that the mineworkers were shot in their upper bodies.

Post mortem findings

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, for the police, objected, and said he was not sure where the cross-examination was heading.

He said Calitz was not in a position to dispute the post mortem findings.

Ntsebeza then read the post mortem findings of Mgcineni Noki, 30. He was shot to the face, neck, lower limbs, and buttocks. Some of the bullets entered his body from the back.

He then read the details of other people who were shot in the upper parts of their bodies.

Ntsebeza asked Calitz to explain whether members of the police's specialised units were trained to shoot accurately, particularly when using R1 and R5 rifles.

"Given that the specialised units were in the majority there [at Marikana] and evidence is that they fired at the people that they perceived to be attacking them... would it be fair to suggest that unless there was no other choice, the aim was to shoot in the lower bodies, legs, to incapacitate the people?"

Calitz agreed.

Ntsebeza said to avoid fatalities, the police should have aimed at the mineworkers' lower bodies.

Police shot and killed 34 people, mostly striking miners, on 16 August last year.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed near Lonmin's mine in Marikana.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission of inquiry, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, last August to probe the events surrounding the deaths.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  ian farlam  |  marikana inquiry

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.