Cop didn't record Marikana shooting

2012-10-23 22:34

Rustenburg - A crime scene technician took no video footage of the fatal mine shooting in Marikana, North West, although he had been instructed to do so from a helicopter.

This was the testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Cornelius Botha on Tuesday before the Farlam commission of inquiry investigating the 16 August shootings.

Botha was questioned over his statement that he had not captured any moment where police were shooting at the protesting mineworkers.

Botha told the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, that he was told to get into the helicopter and film a police operation. He did not know what the operation was.

Farlam said the video was meant to be of the operation, but Botha did not get there in time. Botha agreed.

"A major part of the operation was already over by the time you started recording?" Farlam asked.

Botha affirmed this.

"So the purpose for getting you there failed?" asked Farlam.

Again Botha agreed.

Human rights advocate George Bizos, representing the families of the miners killed, asked Botha: "Did you record any shooting? You told us you went into the air when the first shooting had happened.

Did you then record the second shooting?"

Botha replied: "I only knew about the second shooting when I got to the ground. I did not see the shooting when it happened."

Bizos wanted to know if his footage showed any shooting.

"I did not see any shooting at all," he replied.

This prompted Bizos to ask: "Would you agree, if I put it bluntly, that on this momentous occasion in South Africa's history, where 35 people were killed, a colonel in the employ of the police was on a helicopter when this was happening, his job was to film, but he managed to avoid filming people being killed?"

Botha said he would not agree with that.

"I was not the one flying the chopper. I filmed what I saw on the ground."

Bizos persisted: "Would you agree that you failed to record that bit of South African history? What was the rank of the other officer sitting next to you in the helicopter?"

Botha responded: "He was a brigadier. I do not remember what he was talking about."

A brigadier is more senior in rank than a lieutenant colonel.

Bizos asked Botha if the brigadier was giving orders to people on the ground. He asked about the "subject matter" of the brigadier's communication.

Botha said he could not recall what the brigadier was talking about on the police radio.

Bizos asked: "Okay, that brigadier you were with in the helicopter, was he as ignorant as you?"

The commission was postponed to Monday.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-10-23 23:11

    Mpofu: Did you, as Minister of Police, order Commissioner Phiyega to send the Police in with bullets? Mthethwa: Ask her. Mpofu: I'm asking you. I'm asking if there is standing order in your Department that bullets can be used to quell a strike. Mthethwa: I know of no such standing order. As for the Commissioner, I can't know what my subordinates do every hour of the day. An exchange like that will never take place. Instead, we have this whiffo-whaffo elicited by the superannuated Bizos.

      george.outremer - 2012-10-24 14:37

      Lawyer: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? Witness: No. Lawyer: Did you check for blood pressure? Witness: No. Lawyer: Did you check for breathing? Witness: No. Lawyer: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? Witness: No. Lawyer: How can you be so sure, Doctor? Witness: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. Lawyer: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless? Witness: It is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere. More laughs here:

  • Erna - 2012-10-24 00:00

    Bizos seems to be the right man to ask the questions!

      andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-10-24 07:41

      George Bizos is a philanthropist and does not want to know what the truth is. He is a glory and attention seeker!

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-10-24 00:03

    God says about the liars and decievers 'if the truth was in accordance to their desires,everything in the Heavens and Earth would have been corrupted'.Marikana till thy Kingdom come!

  • jonathan.clayton. - 2012-10-24 00:26

    Okay, so let's say the miners were in the right and the police should of let themselves be over-run and .....a murderous horde of miners is being defended while the trained policemen who serve the public is wrong??..what's wrong with this picture??

      michelle.sang.9 - 2012-10-24 06:19

      Couldn't agree with you more Jonathan!

      kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-10-24 06:35

      Bizos and Mpofu only want to be in History Books abt the shooting, nothing more, was they ever police officials.Spotlight, Jonathan, spotlight

  • sally.lewitt - 2012-10-24 00:54

    How frigging 'convenient' or should I say 'convenient amnesia' you can't ALL be that stupid or another blatant cover-up {again} ai ai ai aaaai... Here we go AGAIN! - 2012-10-24 15:25

      hardly think so sally. a cover up is when there is no evidence. The evidence i saw was from the international news cameras on the ground during the shooting, where the miners attacked first, shot first, was filmed smearing themselves with muti before they cahrged. Cover up ? I dont think so. Spinning so that the miners look like the angels so that the anc can get their votes...more likely

  • precious.yumyum - 2012-10-24 03:22

    why are we even not seeing this commission of enquiry live on tv? i don't think the result will see anyone being held accountable. especially the person like Cyril Ramaphosa who has been revealed as the master mind behind an email that was sent around between police, Susan Shabangu, Cyril Ramaphosa and government. So, it means it is just like that useless farce of an enquiry the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The result of this was Apartheid engineers getting off scot free and us Black people being f\r\n

      Andrea - 2012-10-24 12:06

      precious.yumyum? Really? You could not think of anything else to say? - 2012-10-24 15:28

      Also, what about what Cyril said was wrong ? The strikers were criminalizing themselves by KILLING people. When someone is killed everyone is up in arms, but when a mob like the strikers at lonmin does it, its right ? Get your priorities straight.

  • gerrit.vanpletzen - 2012-10-24 04:01


  • michelle.sang.9 - 2012-10-24 06:17

    I think the police are getting a bum rap. 2 of their colleagues had already been murdered by these strikers. It would make perfect sense to assume that the rush of a weapon yielding mob was not to enter into dialogue, so they shot at them. If shooting into a mob, how can you distinguish who's running towards you and who's running away from you. Makes perfect sense to me somehow.

      David Steyn - 2012-10-24 06:28

      Great comment Michelle but you have to have something that most radicals don't have ,to understand this ,and it is called COMMONSENSE. - 2012-10-24 15:29

      I agree Michelle. Great point. It was 6000 against 400 cops. I would have shot them as well had they charged me with weapons and guns.

  • nghamula.mdunwazi - 2012-10-24 06:21

    What a question!was he ignorant as you? - 2012-10-24 15:30

      Yes ... What Bizos isnt saying, is that the entire thing was captured by international media cameras for news, where it can clearly be seen how and where the strikers charged first, and shot at the cops first.

  • Gatvol Griet - 2012-10-24 06:38

    It is one thing to seek justice, quite another to insult. Since when is defamation acceptable? This totally diminishes one's sympathy for the dead and their families, and that's not right.

  • dehlia.fredericks - 2012-10-24 06:48

    call me insensitive, bt i had nd heard enough! they all fainted, u on etv, smile!

  • kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-10-24 06:51

    Bizos nd his chihuahua Dali Mpofu just want to be in History Books, they did see all footages and saw the thugs trying to overwhelm the police, he's a real prick

  • Cappuccinno4u - 2012-10-24 06:52

    theres a huge coverup here.. There is obviously an existing footage from the chopper which is hidden somewhere, of which sooner or later sum1 is going to leak it to the press.. The footage surely shows exactly wat happened down there coz 34 miners were NOT all shot at the same spot, according to the media footage shown ealier months ago, so the SAPS rather play it an incompetent game by forcing colonel to take a fall claiming not to have recorded da massacre..

      graham.horn.505 - 2012-10-24 08:20

      You speak as if they knew there was going to be a massacre.

      samuelk.mohlakoana - 2012-10-24 08:27

      For sure i agree wth u. I dont understand wy the ltnd failed to do his duty. De footage is there and it has been seen that its gona cause a havoc den dey decided that he just agrees that he failed to do his job. How simple nd fast he agreed that he failed? There is lot that is gona b known which is a secret. But i know money is money der is someone who wil sell that vedio to de press. Watch out.

      samuelk.mohlakoana - 2012-10-24 08:27

      For sure i agree wth u. I dont understand wy the ltnd failed to do his duty. De footage is there and it has been seen that its gona cause a havoc den dey decided that he just agrees that he failed to do his job. How simple nd fast he agreed that he failed? There is lot that is gona b known which is a secret. But i know money is money der is someone who wil sell that vedio to de press. Watch out.

      samuelk.mohlakoana - 2012-10-24 08:27

      For sure i agree wth u. I dont understand wy the ltnd failed to do his duty. De footage is there and it has been seen that its gona cause a havoc den dey decided that he just agrees that he failed to do his job. How simple nd fast he agreed that he failed? There is lot that is gona b known which is a secret. But i know money is money der is someone who wil sell that vedio to de press. Watch out. - 2012-10-24 15:31

      Ok fine...cover up...what then about the international news cameras who captured the strikers shooting first at the cops while they were charging them ? Or the sangoma who sold them the muti to make them invincible to the cops bullets ?

  • braamc - 2012-10-24 06:55

    Cry this beloved country.

  • kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-10-24 07:03

    Bizos and NEWS24, what do they have in common, SENSATIONALISM

  • dragonfire47 - 2012-10-24 07:06

    never liked bizos and never will, he is on the same coin as malema, always wants to be in the media and wants it all for himself

  • David Steyn - 2012-10-24 07:24

    You know Eugene if these people had downed tools and gone and sat on that copy without any weapons they would have achieved a lot more because they would have had thousands of peoples sympathy and support. Why do they always have to kill and destroy? What about the people that they killed gruesomely with pangas? Don,t their lives count for anything. No my friend! there is absolutely no excuse for this type of behaviour and any person behaving like this should feel the full force of the law.

      ratsaka.eugene - 2012-10-24 07:53

      Yes they must face the law, not death. Dali Mpofu was saying this on national TV that a video footage shows people being shot with their hands raised in the air, the police did not deny this. Even in WW2, soldiers who surrendered were kept as prisoners of war (were later released), not shot at point blank

      khwibi.s.aphane - 2012-10-24 08:27

      David Steyn, I do not say those miners were right, and i do not say police were wrong as there is still an enquiry which should reveal everything. What I sense here is police went out on a revenge. they were emotional and they were gulliable and got used by Cyril to gain power and strengthen relationships with foreign investors. He has power over Malema. He expelled him from ANC and he stopped him from addressing the masses in Marikana. This only helps him build stronger ties with investors.

  • sna.thambo - 2012-10-24 07:48

    kwaaa@ was the brigadier as ignorant as you? wat was the response then? do we hae to wait for Monday for the response

  • graham.horn.505 - 2012-10-24 07:51

    Bizos is questioning Botha as if Botha new that history was going to be made. If he believes others should be as clairvoyant as he is, why wasn't he there to stop the shooting then? Bizos is the ignorant one here.

      george.outremer - 2012-10-24 09:36

      I would say this is a repeat of history, that is: The 1922 Rand Rebellion. Also wage related. Zuma has cleverly appointed a commission of enquiry to mitigate the risks associated with his re-election. The unfortunate thing here is that the SAPS is on trial. Which suggests to me that government is looking for a scapegoat. The real issue is: had the SAPS NOT opened fire and consequently suffered casualties - would the miners now be on trial?

  • jola.jose.7 - 2012-10-24 07:55

    We are going back to the apartheid era were the life of a black has no value ,why did they killed student in soweto in june 16(for better education),why did they killed the workers in august 16 for (better wages)

      AMNewman - 2012-10-25 16:16

      Yes, Yes, Yes! I am so appalled at all this hot air about 'savage miners,' accepted killing, uncivilised people etc etc. That too has't changed. When are these hotheads (and a quick look at these comments indicate that 90% of comments are made by them) going to realise that working in a mine and living in a shack is unacceptable! Miners have to look after themselves AND their families in a far of place. You can't just suddenly CHANGE that. It's been going on for over a hundred years! And most importantly. Just because a hothead doesn't want to change his prejudice doesn't mean that others haven't changed theirs! It's been shown over and over again. The NUM didn't want to represent the Lonmin Miners' views, Lonmin only wanted to talk to the NUM and therefore the Lonmin Miners did not have a voice and weren't being heard! How can you make things better if you are not being heard?

  • itumeleng.tshatiwa - 2012-10-24 07:58

    I like the manner and nature in which Advocate George Bizos is shaking the credibility of police witnesses, this man can peel u like an opinion with a knife and leave u naked in public so the whole world can see how pathetic and incompetent police officers of this country are especially the ones holding top positions. Advocate Bizos has a wealth of legal experience y'all punk police better not underestimate him ok!

  • philhaj - 2012-10-24 07:59

    if Bizos had Malema to the wall,lot of you would have given him a thumbs up.

  • nathan.buchner - 2012-10-24 08:04

    Now they want to blame the police for the shooting?wtf the hooligans confessed to using moetie that made them agressive and that the police bullets won't harm them!so what was there intention by running towards the police with pangas ang spears??to run past them into the mine and go work?? If this had happend in isreal china or japan the police wouldve killed every single one of them due to the fact that just a week before the shooting police officers that probably was constables in the police was hacked to death!the police officers needs an minimum education degree of matric to join the force a constables salary a month is r9000 if not less!most of the miners didn't even go to school and they want a salary of 12500???open you're eyes people

      AMNewman - 2012-10-25 16:31

      Open your eyes Nathan! Read a little about the background instead of performing the same set of assumptions that justified keeping the majority of South Africans as second class citizens for so long. There were events leading up to the shooting. Read about those events, instead of considering that many hundreds of miners simply took 'muti' (like a recreational drug) and them stormed off to slaughter a few innocent policemen! And about Isreal, China or Japan? No! I am pretty sure the situation wouldn't have got to the place it did at Marikana. Leave Isreal out of the equation, but China and Japan are not so prejudiced of their countrymen to simply 'assume' they are being unreasonable!

  • Sakhiwo - 2012-10-24 08:06

    Riya Piega must also be questioned,i like these proceedings

  • dirkengelbrecht - 2012-10-24 08:10

    Is Bizos a moron? How do you sit in the helicopter and suspect the miners are stupid enough to charge armed police with machetes and suspect "history is going to be made". Hey guys check this right........... those miners are going to probably commit suicide and then the police are gonna mow them down and then there will probably be a mass arrest and then there will be footage secretly taken and then there will be a presidential inquiry and then....George Bizos will advertise his intellectual prowess.

      piet.snot.77964 - 2012-10-24 10:24

      To answer your question Dirk - YES big time - A typical lawyer who has no idea as to how these actions evolve . - as you say how did Botha have any idea that the miners were creeping up on the police to attack them and the police were going to defend themselves. Maybe the chopper was facing theother way when the shooting took place and when they got into a position to film it was all over. Maybe Bizos can tell us the Lotto numbers every week seeing he knows in advance what is going to happen!

      AMNewman - 2012-10-25 16:39

      Maybe two pretty senior police officers - who are no doubt experienced in public disorder, would notice that things were not right! Bizos's questions of that policeman were clear. What were you doing in a chopper if you were tasked with filming and didn't? AND you have access to a senior officers' conversation and didn't hear? In any other policeforce, you'd be in the sh#t! I think Bizos missed a simple question. "Why did you think you were sent up in that helicopter in the first place? Weren't you supposed to be working?'

  • dirkengelbrecht - 2012-10-24 08:12

    Hi Ntshobs. Why did the miners charge the police with deadly weapons?

      khwibi.s.aphane - 2012-10-24 08:58

      that tape probably reveals the opposite and should be found. why hide it.

  • matome.leshabane - 2012-10-24 08:22

    everybody must sing bosso ke mang..? And sum we reply by saying...( GEORGE BISON)... Let's hear on monday... Somebody is gonna get fryed in a very HOT pan of questions...*Who's realy responsible..?*

  • lindani.zulu2 - 2012-10-24 08:47

    I just wish the miners were white

      lesleyb.smit - 2012-10-24 09:28

      RACIST much? I doubt, if the miners were white that they would have been stupid enough to charge at armed police and expect warm hugs in return!! They would have been only too greatful to have regular paid work.

      AMNewman - 2012-10-25 16:50

      Lesleyb. Bury your prejudice. No matter what your colour. If you have been working for many years and you still cannot afford a house, if you watch a mine growing rich and you cannot receive some benefits, if the law dictates that only a union can represent your wage demands and is refusing, if you employer decides to listen to the law instead of seeing the humanity of your situation, if your current situation looks exactly the same as the the situation of you father and grandfather, you will do what a Marikana Miner did! Regardless of your colour!

      lesleyb.smit - 2012-10-25 18:30

      AMNewman - I responded to lindani.zulu2 's VERY RACIST COMMENT about wishing it was white miners that had died!!! WHAT is YOUR problem???? Don't 'target' me and accuse me of prejudice when it isn't called for. I know nothing about mines and how they function other than they contibute(d) greatly to the fiscus and supply jobs for people who WILLINGLY took them on. They could have left anytime they liked!! Then we have 'people' with their own agendas using and abusing the uneducated, making loftly promises that cannot be fulfilled and inciting discontent which will more than likely lose many the employment they have now. What then, more violence and strikes and even less people being in a better position to improve their lives. And NO I would not be stupid enough to confront armed police or anyone else for that matter, and expect a different outcome!

  • darryl.maze1 - 2012-10-24 09:48

    Here in SA they know how to waste tax payers money with these pathetic enquiries. How the hell can you postpone till next monday???? You Mr Bizo and the rest of these lawyer defending these barbaric miners are just in it for the glory and nothin more. This is my enquiry: Miners gathered on top of hill illegaly with dangerous weapons. Julius and the unions got the miners all fired up and ready to fight the police. These savage miners then brutally hacked and killed two policemen and two security gaurds, (who have still not been mentioned in this enquiry yet) The police asked them to leave and they did not. The miners then gathered and charged the police with there weapons. The police were in danger and opened fire. Final findings: These savage miners knew what they were doing and were ready to die no matter what. They hacked two of there fellow members to death and pushed the police to a point to open fire. Therefore the police are innocent and all you savage miners are guilty.

  • piet.snot.77964 - 2012-10-24 10:37

    " This prompted Bizos to ask: "Would you agree, if I put it bluntly, that on this momentous occasion in South Africa's history, where 35 people were killed, a colonel in the employ of the police was on a helicopter when this was happening, his job was to film, but he managed to avoid filming people being killed?" My question to Bizos : "Would you agree, if I put it bluntly, that on this momentous occasion in South Africa's history, where 35 people were killed, a so called aged legal expert and now self proclaimed clairvoyant who knew exactly what was going to transpire did nothing about stopping the whole thing and managed to avoid people being killed?" Someone said - Hindsight - is an exact science. Easy to criticize after the fact and not having been there in person.

  • guyp1 - 2012-10-24 10:41

    Why is this shooting now known as a "momentous occasion in South African history"? I thought that having the world cup soccer/football here would count as a momentous occasion as its a big thing, even though I don't like the sport, but not a shooting due to VIOLENT and ILLEGAL strikers attacking police and police retaliating in self-defense. Why is Bizos focusing on the police filming everything when there is clear-as-day evidence in the media footage that the police where acting as they would have normally if a criminal attacked them? I would love to see him run at a policeman on the street and fire a round or two at him and see if the policeman would let himself get killed or return fire. It just seems this man is only showing face to make this something it's not and to profit from the misfortune of others. I also find it highly irritating that the judge and other such people in power don't think that this man is wrong and clearly biased against the police for some reason.

  • Andrea - 2012-10-24 12:08

    Bozo, being able to hang a piece of paper on the wall does not make you a world class lawyer, you arrogant prick.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-10-24 12:25

    Bottom line is that irrespective of anything else, this tawt failed to do his job and should be dismissed.

  • dmlatha - 2012-10-24 13:45

    Either they did not record the event because they new the footage will expose the cold blooded murder caried out by police or the footage was taken but is being witheld from the commission in the same way the tapes that lead to the dropping of charges against Zuma are being witheld despite the court having issued an instruction for their release.

      sirian.dee - 2012-10-25 15:42

      @ dmlatha: or as the judge said, he wasnt there for the 1st incident, and he filmed what he saw for the rest of the time... and surely Bizos can ask for the recording that was taken - seems its not in his interest to do so

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