News24

Chopper cops unaware of Marikana shooting

2012-10-30 16:51

Rustenburg - Police in a helicopter circling Marikana on the day 34 mineworkers were killed were unaware that there had been a shooting, the Farlam Commission heard on Tuesday.

"We know scene one [where 16 people were killed near the Kraal] was not recorded," said Lonmin's lawyer Schalk Burger.

"We know the second scene [behind the small hill] was not recorded [either] because you did not know it had happened."

Burger was cross-examining crime scene technician Lietenant Colonel Cornelius Johannes Botha, who was tasked with recording the dispersing-and-disarming police operation on 16 August, and in which 34 people were killed and 78 were wounded.

"In view of your evidence, you didn't know what was happening. Did the brigadier [who was in the helicopter] not tell you what was going on or that people were being killed?" he asked.

Back on ground

Botha said he heard that people had been killed only when he was back on the ground.

"Does that mean you were in the police helicopter when 34 people were killed and people in the helicopter were blissfully unaware of what was going on?" asked Burger.

He said that part of Lonmin's case was to show that the police helicopter failed to perform its function.

Burger said the helicopter had three functions: to record the events of 16 August; to act as an aerial command post; and crowd control.

Botha confirmed that one of the roles was to film the police operation, but he could not say if the other two roles were correct.
"I am not an operations person who can say the helicopter is used for crowd control," Botha told Burger.

He also said he did not know if the brigadier who was in the helicopter with him was giving operational commands.

"I can't remember what anyone said. There was so much talking," said Botha.

Timing

In earlier testimony, the commission, which is chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, heard that the police operation was meant to start at 15:30.

Botha said he arrived at the helicopter at 15:00, but it was not yet ready to leave.

"There is major operation starting at 15:00... Why doesn't the chopper fly?" asked Burger.

Botha said he could not answer the question.

There were four helicopters in the air at the time of the shooting.

Burger asked if all of them had video equipment on board; Botha said he did not know.

Comments
  • Martin Mowayo - 2012-10-30 17:06

    Lt Col Botha is a disgrace to SAPS and to mankind.

      Paul Mphap - 2012-10-30 22:07

      Claudia, u r a racist....this has nothing to do with race...someone didnt execute his job properly here & whether hes white, black or blue doesnt matter.

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-10-30 23:20

      Claudia. You don't get to the position that Botha got to (particularly considering that you have been a member of the force for more than twenty years) without having an understanding of how a situation works. This guy was not a troopie. He says he doesn't know because he is hiding something - as simple as that. He is obstructuve and frankly, when one recalls the commissions of the old regime, he is a chip off the old block!

  • LongSword - 2012-10-30 17:13

    Cover up masquarading as incompetence.

      LongSword - 2012-10-31 02:29

      And where did i copy them. Jus coz ur brain don get it it doesn't mean some of us r as dumb as u r. Google that n post the link to prove i copied it somewhere, wherever, stupid girl.

  • punungwe - 2012-10-30 17:13

    The fact that the police acted incompetently is beyond doubt. It was starkly apparent they they had little to no experience with crowd control. However it would be grossly unfair to blame the deaths on them, unless you are saying their failure to control the crowd in the beginning is the reason for the deaths. The crowd itself was unreasonable and dangerous. There is no struggle without casualties and it was to be expected that some injuries or deaths would occur in the crowd before it was brought under control.

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-10-30 23:22

      They either had no idea of crowd control or they had an agenda. When you see how this whole matter has been handled by the police - I find it very difficult to believe theor wasn't an agenda. The SAP has always been their for both protection and participation. History has shown them that participation has often been part of their modus operandi

  • punungwe - 2012-10-30 17:17

    The fact that the police acted incompetently is beyond doubt. It was starkly apparent they they had little to no experience with crowd control. However it would be grossly unfair to blame the deaths on them, unless you are saying their failure to control the crowd in the beginning is the reason for the deaths. The crowd itself was unreasonable and dangerous. There is no struggle without casualties and it was to be expected that some injuries or deaths would occur in the crowd before it was brought under control.

  • celeste.delange1 - 2012-10-30 17:53

    Hmm. This does not surprise me for one second!! A cover up!

  • jerry.medina.756 - 2012-10-30 17:54

    A well orchestrated murder by the police. Of course none of the choppers will have their cameras working. Taking a leaf out of the apartheid government. ANC not just a corrupt,thieving, incompetent thugs. Kill to protect the wealth of few individuals. Can somebody tell us how much Lonmin gives to this tsotsi organization?

  • TheBlackRaptor - 2012-10-30 18:22

    Ha ha, Cops unaware.

  • jacques.vanjaarsveld - 2012-10-30 19:57

    What is so funny is that the night they showed the clip of the so called Police Chopper on the news it was actually an Air Force Oryx helicopter.

  • DC Gabara - 2012-10-30 23:02

    This Policeman is so lucky his name isn't Sipho Gumede. Its sad for me that I couldn't find any joy from reading comments from racist and bitter bastards. You guys always make my day. #Australia is calling

      paul.nefdt - 2012-10-31 16:47

      I thought I was the only one who noticed this... But, its good you didn't say the bitter fools are just being RACIST, because then your comment would've been removed DC Gabara...

  • John - 2012-11-09 16:54

    What a lying piece of dog turd! Was your head that far up your rectum that all you could see was the faeces you got in your mouth that you are spouting! It's no wonder so many of your MEMBERS are killed with you for an example of lying THUGS! You disgusting cowardly lying piece of filth!

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