Marikana: ‘Police Nyala rushed past and the officers opened fire’

2012-10-02 13:30

Retired judge Ian Farlam got first-hand accounts of the violence that ripped through the Nkaneng informal settlement in August, during an inspection this afternoon.

Farlam, who is chairing the Marikana commission appointed by President Jacob Zuma, also heard how an ANC councillor was shot during police raids in the settlement last month.

Paulinah Mashutlo was shot, allegedly by police with a rubber bullet, when police reinforcements chased mineworkers who were trying to gather on the outskirts of the settlement on September 15.

Three other women who were with Mashutlo sustained injuries inflicted by rubber bullets on their legs.

Farlam and his entourage visited the Nkaneng settlement this afternoon as part of the in-loco inspection of the Marikana Judicial Commission of Inquiry.

One of the women, Melitah Ramosedi, told Farlam and the entourage of media, lawyers and residents, that they were standing near a spaza shop on the day when a police Nyala rushed past them and the officers inside opened fire with rubber bullets.

Ramosedi said they were later rushed to hospital, where Mashutlo died a week later, apparently from injuries sustained in the shooting.

Residents also told the commission that police opened fire on them with rubber bullets.

This, after they had obeyed an order from the police to hand over their traditional weapons.

The commission earlier visited various sites near Wonderkop, where four people, including security guards, were killed during the violence that erupted on August 9 when workers from the Lonmin mine went on an illegal strike.

During the inspection, Thabisa Maxwelisa told City Press her nephew, four-year-old Mehlali Maxwelisa, has had eye troubles after he was exposed to teargas fumes on September 15 when police raided the informal settlement.

However, she did not make a statement to the commission as she was not aware of the procedures to be followed.

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