Marikana: Too early to draw conclusions

2013-01-29 14:38

Rustenburg - It was premature to draw conclusions from so-called "new" cellphone video footage of the Marikana shootings, the Farlam commission heard on Tuesday.

"In the circumstances, the commission is of the view that it is premature to draw conclusions from the video footage that is included in the broadcast," commission chairperson Ian Farlam said in Rustenburg.

Farlam confirmed that two policemen, a Captain Rylands and a Sergeant Mahlatsi, filmed the footage on 16 August.

"The footage was provided to the commission by the [SAPS] without compulsion and was shown in the commission on 21 November."

He said it was of poor quality and when it was shown, the voices were not clearly audible.

Farlam said neither the police nor anyone else had testified before the commission about the video.

Released by Britain's Channel 4 News on Sunday, it shows how police kept their guns trained on two men while they crawled through a field.

It shows a tactical response team officer calling for restraint while a miner is on the move.

"The guy is there running. Wait. Don't shoot him, don't shoot him," the officer shouts.

However, gunshots are heard and then the camera moves over the lifeless body of a man.

Another officer is quoted with subtitles: "That motherfucker. I shot him at least 10 times."

The video is part of a broadcast in which journalist Inigo Gilmore reports that the dead man was later identified, and that he had been shot 12 times.

Later, a police officer is heard speaking in Afrikaans about someone having a smaller gun, and imitating the sounds of the gunshots.

"[The police video was taken] a few hundred metres away from the media and, crucially, out of sight of their cameras, where most of the miners actually died," Gilmore reports.

The broadcast also shows recordings of the day's events as captured by other media houses.

Gilmore said the police video raised questions about what happened at the hill where 34 miners were killed and 78 wounded on 16 August, when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group gathered there.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and the two security guards, were hacked to death.

On Monday, the video caused a stir on the social media website Twitter.

One person, @B_K_chronicles, tweeted: "I guess its safe to say cops simply murdered people in cold blood. This video tells a whole new angle now!"

A tweeter named @Fergs24 called the policeman's comments disgraceful and added: "I feel sick".

Another tweeter commented: "That Marikana shooting video report just reminds one of times best forgotten."

The commission continues.

  • zolisa.dlokovu - 2013-01-29 14:56

    Its shocking really

      philip.harris.967 - 2013-01-29 15:00

      Disgraceful ...nothing can excuse that brutality.

      mattewis.kat - 2013-01-29 15:29

      The old saying goes that if you poke the lion's scrotum with a stick, you're going to get eaten! I can relate to being underpaid, really I can! I don't condone the turkey shoot executed by the cops, and also I don't think they were acting purely out of their own judgement without any higher level involvement. These miner blokes, however, prepared for war and they already had a 10-body head start at the point when police responded. If you hack innocent people to death, expecting to be treated as a victim is a little much to ask for!

      sarah.bouttell - 2013-01-29 15:50

      Phillip, I tend to lean towards your side of the fence on this, purely because I feel that if a police officer has become so desensitized to death and killing, that he is recorded as remarking "that MF, I must have shot him 10 times", I consider such a person, to no longer be fit for duty. I would prefer that our society is not policed by a person who has become devoid of conscience or empathy. The commenters are looking at this story and are seeing one level, not seeing their future in a country marshaled by police officers such as these.

  • alastair.newman.52 - 2013-01-29 15:08

    How much evidence will it require to get the Minister and the Police Commissioner to resign. Really. They are responsible for the actions of the people under their charge. They must resign. What faith can we possibly have in their abilities if they continue to cling to their positions after evidence such as this?

      johnnie.vercuil - 2013-01-29 22:34

      Resign ? - never on your life. They are there solely for the pay.

  • jasonwarnerza - 2013-01-29 15:14

    Why does Sapa insist on adding a few random tweets by random people to articles? It doesn't take the narrative further, adds no context and comes across as amateur.

  • thembinkosi.jozie - 2013-01-29 15:15

    Zuma should declare August16 a public holiday.This massacre is worst than the Sharpville massacre

      logical007 - 2013-01-29 15:26

      We have enough public holidays... including all the days taken for illegal strikes? how about some work days? What the media and people keep forgetting is these 'innocent' miners were armed with pangas, guns and other weapons, first killing 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, hacking them to death. Why is this not important in the investigation?

      Poloyatonki - 2013-01-29 15:29

      I can do with a day off.. August16 is on friday, long weekend for me.

      Jaap - 2013-01-29 16:12

      Logical1007, Yes I agree fully. If one look at the picture I am sure they are not wielding feather dusters.

  • saintbruce.bruce - 2013-01-29 15:18

    We better not forget Marikana. To resolve it we need to understand it, not cover it up.

  • avanwyk2 - 2013-01-29 15:48

    So Farlam commision saw it on 21 Nov already. That is more than 2 months already and yet you say it is too early. C'mon guys. Do your work!!Anyway I smell a rat!!

  • papzu - 2013-01-30 01:15

    Most Tactical Response Team members are not well in their minds. These R4 riffles drives them crazy. Marikana shooting was once in a life time killing spree opportunity.

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