Cops didn't help victims, inquiry hears

2013-05-23 19:36
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Policemen did little to help the miners they shot at Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

Dali Mpofu, for the arrested and injured miners, asked whether police were not trained to help injured people or give first aid.

Mpofu played footage taken on 16 August, when police shot dead the miners at Lonmin's platinum mine.

The footage shows officers searching those lying down and later standing around the scene.

In response, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said she could not say why the police did not help the injured.

"The generals can answer that," she said.

Mpofu said when police officers were injured during clashes with the striking miners on 13 August, two helicopters were sent to take them to hospital.

On 16 August there were four helicopters, yet none of them were used to transport the injured, he said.

When Phiyega disagreed, Mpofu added that the helicopters were only used much later after the shooting.

Footage of the paramedics arriving at the scene was also viewed. Mpofu described the paramedics' arrival as casual. No sirens were switched on and they drove in at normal speed.

He reminded the commission that one of the injured miners who testified said he heard one Zulu-speaking officer call to the paramedics for help.

The miner said he heard the officers laughing and taking pictures of the men lying on the ground.

In response, Phiyega said: "I don't know whether someone had cracked a joke.

"On the pictures, I don't know whether anyone was all willy-nilly taking pictures. I haven't seen [those pictures]."

Blown apart

An audio transcript from one video was read to the commission.

According to the transcript one officer said: "It is muti... It's this muti shit. It doesn't work here, baba."

Mpofu said transcribers had not included the words of a Sotho-speaking officer, as they were not clearly audible.

Mpofu said the Sotho-speaking officer had said: "It was me. It was me. I've blown him apart."

He advised Phiyega to listen to the audio when the commission adjourned and asked her whether these remarks could be called responsible policing.

"To avoid issues of subjectivity, I cannot comment on that," Phiyega said.

The commission also reviewed the statement of Warrant Officer Hendrich Myburgh. Myburgh said in his statement that while at the scene one officer shot at a miner lying on the ground.

Myburgh stated he asked the officer what he was doing.

The officer replied: "They deserve to die."

Mpofu asked Phiyega whether this comment could be regarded as responsible policing.

Phiyega said she could not comment as Myburgh had failed to identify the officer.

She said Myburgh's statement was therefore inconclusive.

"You're the most evasive witness I've ever spoken to," said Mpofu.

The hearings continue on Monday.

Read more on:    police  |  riah phiyega  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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