Marikana: Lonmin shooting records altered

2014-07-29 13:47

Reference to Lonmin security guards firing rubber bullets during a scuffle between striking miners in Marikana in August 2012 was removed from a logbook, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard.

“Who is responsible for editing the Lonmin OB [occurrence book], deleting certain references to rubber rounds fired by Lonmin people and then putting before us an OB which is censored?” asked inquiry chairperson retired judge Ian Farlam.

Lonmin security risk manager Dirk Botes was being questioned at the inquiry’s public hearings in Pretoria about discrepancies in the occurrence logbooks.

Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson said, according to one of the versions, Lonmin guards fired rubber rounds when striking miners approached National Union of Mineworkers members on August 11 2012.

Chaskalson asked if Botes knew why an entry about the shooting was removed from Lonmin’s version given to the inquiry.

Botes replied: “I wasn’t there at the site, but the [Lonmin] versions we have here are totally different. The log sheet I have was compiled in the Lonmin JOC [security joint operations centre] while I was in the SAPS [SA Police Service] JOC.

“The people here [in the Lonmin JOC] reported to Graeme Sinclair and he has to account and explain why the shooting was removed at the time, or afterwards.”

Sinclair is Lonmin’s head of security.

Botes could not say why the occurrence books where altered.

“The person who compiled the log sheets reported to Graeme. I was not in charge of the log sheets and the operators who compiled them,” he said.

Chaskalson said evidence showed the alterations were made after August 27 2012.

Farlam said: “This concerns us because after the 27th of August, someone deleted the entry of the firing of eight rubber rounds. We want to know who that person is, and why.”

Chaskalson said other entries had been removed from the Lonmin occurrence logbooks.

“If you compare exhibit XX2.10, with the document on the screen, you will find that two items written in red have been removed. In fact, if you do an overall comparison of the two documents, you find that all evidence of Lonmin shooting at the strikers appears to have been removed from the log given to us by Lonmin. We want help on that,” said Chaskalson.

He said other Lonmin witnesses would be questioned on the matter.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, in August 2012.

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