Police video not seen at debriefing

2012-10-30 18:21

Rustenburg - A police video taken on the day of a shooting in Marikana was not viewed at a police debriefing in Potchefstroom, the Farlam Commission heard on Tuesday.

"I can't recall that we looked at the video," crime scene expert Lieutenant Colonel  Cornelius Johannes Botha said.

Botha was being cross-examined by Lonmin lawyer Schalk Burger on a nine-day meeting held by the SA Police Service's top brass about the shooting at Lonmin's platinum mine in North West on 16 August.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, was probing the shooting where 34 people were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on striking mineworkers gathering on a hill in Wonderkop near the mine.

Botha said he was asked during the meeting about crime scenes which had been processed.

He said he could not remember whether his video was discussed. He did recall that photos taken by another sergeant were discussed.

On 16 August, Botha was tasked with filming a dispersing and disarming police operation from a helicopter.

However, he did not have footage of the two shootings which claimed the 34 lives.

Botha said he only heard about the shootings when he was back on the ground. He said he only knew of one police video.

There were four other helicopters in the air that day, two of which belonged to the police.

Botha said he did not know whether they all had video equipment on board.

Burger asked him if during the nine-day debriefing if the shooting at scene one, where 16 people were killed near a kraal, was discussed at all.

"It was discussed... I can't remember specifics of what was said or who said what," said Botha.

Burger also asked whether scene two, behind the small hill, was discussed.

"Scene two would have made you inquisitive because you weren't aware of what happened... As a concerned citizen were you not interested [in what happened there]?" asked Burger.

Botha again replied that he could not remember.

He said what was discussed was who was at each scene, but he did not know who those police members were.

Burger read through the SAPS' opening remarks given to the commission, that gave a breakdown of what happened at the small hill.

According to the opening remarks, an armed mineworker charged police and police reacted by shooting. This was said to be in self-defence.

Botha said he had heard this being discussed.

During the meeting, Potchefstroom police were putting together two presentations, one for the national police commissioner and one for the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

When asked what conclusion the police came to at the end of its meeting in Potchefstroom, Botha said the presentations were not finalised.

Burger asked him what he took away from the nine-day meeting.

"What I took away was that it was an unfortunate incident, that 34 people were killed and police were involved," said Botha.

Burger asked if police felt they had done well or had things gone wrong.

"I can't say that we did right or we did wrong; that's not my decision," said Botha.

Lawyers for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) also cross-examined Botha about his role at the Potchefstroom meeting.

  • Gatvol Griet - 2012-10-30 18:42

    Poor guy, he's been grilled so much you'd think he was the only policeman

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-10-30 23:27

      Screw 'poor guy' How do you take a video, then attend a nine day debriefing (9 days is a long time) and then reply that you 'cannot recall?' K#K How many 9 day debriefings do you think this guy has attended? I doubt very many! The reason that it was nine days long was because it was important. This guy is acting like it wasn't. For a senior police officer, that is a tragedy!

  • Tshilidzi Wa Ha Mukhovha - 2012-10-30 18:43

    Just compensate,i mean the government must compensate the victims family and stop wasting our tax money by these commission which we don't even know when is going to end these probe

  • Tshilidzi Wa Ha Mukhovha - 2012-10-30 18:43

    Just compensate,i mean the government must compensate the victims family and stop wasting our tax money by these commission which we don't even know when is going to end these probe

      logical007 - 2012-10-30 19:34

      And who will compensate for the 2 guards and police that the miners killed first???? The miners (ON CAMERA)charged with pangas , knives and guns and shot at police??? And you want police to compensate miners???

  • gavin.preller - 2012-10-30 19:19

    Lt Col Botha's answers seem very vague and evasive. It seem he knows more than he is telling. Surely a Lt.Col (a senior policeman) tasked with the duty of filming from the air and reporting to those on the ground what he is seeing will do so efficiently. How could he not be filming such a crucial aspect as the group of miners (hundreds if not thousands) moving down the hill towards the police. Why were stun grenades thrown onto the crowd of minersjust before the shooting? Was the behaviour deemed a threat (yetitis supposedly not filmed. Were the stun grenades being dropped from the helicopter what set off the miners stampede? Was it the stun grenades that police thought was the miners opening fire on them which led to them returning fire? How come we onlyhave the policeman remember yesterday about the fact that stun grenades were dropped fromthe helicopter? Who gave the order for such? Many questions for Botha to still answer.

  • george.pito - 2012-10-30 19:19

    I kind of met this guy ina briefing sessionand he is one of the best I met. That is the problem he is being targeted cause he is white I suggest he see a good labour union himself. He was not in charge of anything I bet just handling some technical equipment from what I can gather. He heard things in a meeting like this new SA meetings goes it seems like they understand each other but nobody else does.

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-10-30 23:32

      George. He is being targeted because he is supposed to be senior and he is supposed to have performed a critical job! He isn't answering his questions very clearly and surely you realise that many people want to know why. He sits in a critical vehicle taking pictures of the daisies. I think it's a valid question to ask why he decided to do that. Surely you agree?

  • John - 2012-10-30 19:39

    This lying thug must develope the courage to expose the TRUTH. Bloody gutless wonder. I am ashamed to be white!

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-10-30 23:34

      John, if you want to be ashamed, be ashamed. And while you are doing it, reflect that no race has a monopoly on f#ck ups!

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