Marikana witness: Police encircled us

2013-03-06 14:17
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Rustenburg - A miner wounded during the Marikana shooting claimed on Wednesday at the Farlam commission that police encircled his group of protesters to shoot them.

"All endeavours were made to have us encircled so we could not get away," Mzoxolo Magidiwana told the Farlam commission of inquiry in Rustenburg.

When the first police Nyala vehicle began to deploy barbed wire, the group discussed its next move.

"Even as we were singing and moving, police started moving [to a gap in the police line]. They knew we would go there and they would encircle us and shoot us."

Magidiwana had testified that the gap in the police line was the only path to the Nkaneng informal settlement, which was the group's intended destination.

Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, for the police, contended there were many other paths the group could have used, other than walking through open veld, to get to Nkaneng.

He said Magidiwana became agitated each time the question of their choice of path was raised.

"What irks you about this question?"

Magidiwana responded: "You say we should have run away. How could we when we were encircled?"

The commission was previously shown photos that appear to support the police's view that other protesters were able to disperse without impediment via other routes.

Magidiwana previously told the commission that the police repeatedly shot and beat him on 16 August 2012.

He was arrested for possession of a firearm, but could not be detained because of the severity of his injuries.

He has denied police claims that he carried a firearm and that he shot at a police Nyala.

The inquiry is focusing on the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, last year.

On 16 August, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when the police opened fire while allegedly trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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