Police helicopter video shown at Marikana inquiry

2012-10-29 14:31

Police have flighted for the first time video footage of events surrounding the fatal shooting of 34 miners in Marikana on August 16.

The 41-minute video was shot from a helicopter by Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius Botha, who was last week criticised by Advocate George Bizos for failing to fully capture scenes of violence on the day.

Bizos is representing the Legal Resources Centre.

The video does not show much detail, except for police vehicles parked near the area known as small koppie, where 18 of the 34 miners were allegedly killed by police.

In his testimony before the commission last week, Botha said the helicopter had arrived at the scene of the shooting, which was captured by press and television cameras, after it had already happened.

The scene is near the cattle kraal, where 16 bodies of the 34 miners shot that day were found.

During cross-examination by Bizos last week, Botha admitted that he had failed to capture any significant scenes.

The video shows in some parts, scenes of long lines of people, apparently arrested miners, lined up on a dirt road near police vehicles.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represents the injured and those who were arrested, asked the commission to also flight a video taken from a Lonmin helicopter.

The video, five minutes of which was shown, does not show any scenes of police shooting miners, but radio exchanges between police can be heard crackling over the video as the helicopter circled over the area, where small clouds of smoke, possibly tear gas, can be seen below.

In one of the radio exchanges, someone can be heard saying: “Do not use your firearms now unless they are targeting you!”

Botha is currently undergoing cross-examination.

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