Strikers shot at cops, inquiry hears

2012-11-09 22:31

Rustenburg - Protesting mineworkers at Lonmin’s platinum operation in Marikana, North West, attacked police officers using firearms and traditional weapons, the Farlam commission heard on Friday.

Narrating events which left 34 striking miners dead, police Lieutenant Colonell Duncan Scott said the protesters made three attempts to breach a line put up by police, marked with barbed wire.

Scott used photographs and video footage to accompany his lengthy presentation.

The three commissioners, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, viewed the photographs and the video clips captured by different news crews on 16 August.

In the footage, thousands of protesters, clutching weapons including pangas, knobkerries and sticks - are seen advancing towards police officers.

In the midst of the crowd, a man is seen firing at officers using a handgun.

Moments later, the infuriated group of protesters is greeted with a volley of bullets as it races towards police officers.

Several protesters plunge to the ground as the shooting officers retreat.

Scott said police officers came under attack on many instances, after that initial shooting which lasted eight seconds.

The protesters headed to two smaller koppies nearby.

"The objective was to pursue the retreating protesters, to disarm, search and arrest the protesters. Some of the protesters [after the initial shooting] were voluntarily walking away but some regrouped at two smaller koppies," said Scott.

During the operation to disarm and arrest the regrouping protesters, Scott outlined eleven events where police shot at the strikers but only after being attacked with guns and traditional weapons.

"A person brandishing a firearm was seen shooting at police members. Fire was returned and after discharging several the attack ceased," said Scott.

He said 259 "attackers" were disarmed and arrested on 16 August. Three firearms were discovered from the group.

Earlier, the commission saw footage of the mineworkers complaining that they were being treated like "rascals" by the mine's management.

The video footage captured by members of the SA Police Service, hours before 34 people were shot, showed protest leaders addressing miners and expressing dissatisfaction with the way in which they were striking.

Scott said the police were on the scene with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa.

The police wanted Mathunjwa to convince the thousands of protesters to surrender their weapons.

In the footage, most of the protesting workers told Mathunjwa that they would rather die, but would not leave the place they occupied at the koppie.

"Every mineworker is a soldier, prepared to die at any time. They [management] are treating us like rascals, we want them to come and us here," said a protester.

Farlam adjourned the hearings to 14 November when Scott is expected continue his testimony.

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2012-11-09 22:44

    I'm gatvol of these allegations please send the guilty one to jail and closed this case

      sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2012-11-09 23:20

      Maybe 167 missed because the guys were invisible

      sello.kobe - 2012-11-09 23:43

      Leonard you really kill me!

      Mike.ntsh2009 - 2012-11-10 05:46

      Did the officers miss before or after the rabbit was killed?

  • phaldiemeyer - 2012-11-09 23:10

    stop wasting the taxpayers money, if you want to protest with dangerous weapons in your hand traditional or not and you stupid enough to rush the cops!! What did you expect them to do??? Run away and hide?? follow the law like everybody else and there will be no problem!!! peaceful protest with no weapons is your constitutional right, anything else is asking for sh*t!!

  • Georgie Calitz - 2012-11-10 00:37

    Police defended themselves

  • manamela.sebodu - 2012-11-10 00:42

    agg diz statementz of marikana are they say miners were running towardz police,tommorow they will be saying they were shot at back meaning da wer running away!!!

  • chris.summers.3954 - 2012-11-10 02:00

    Liveleak has the video showing the strikers shooting at police with a handgun freely available, google it for yourselves. The strikers shot live ammunition at the police, and the police acted in self defence, why are we wasting time on inquiries?

  • fort.horseman.7 - 2012-11-10 03:57

    The reality in this incident is that it didnt happen under a white government,but a black government.On this occasion you cant blame the whites.Therefore the blacks have to correct something.

      wade.johnson.58726 - 2012-11-10 04:33

      ...oh, don't worry, they'll find a way to blame this on Apartheid. At the moment, I can't think of a link between this incident & the previous government, but somehow, it all comes back to Racism. The ANC love to keep the memory of the Apartheid fresh in people's minds. What else have they got ?

      Barefoot - 2012-11-10 05:57

      oh come on it's too early for this and a weekend on top of it- chill a bit.

  • Jennifer Jayden - 2012-11-10 06:06

    They were not treated like rascals,they acted like rascals.I'm siding with police on this one.

      imran.phiri.9 - 2012-11-10 06:24

      We want to the police man and when we have problem we call them how do you bite the finger that feeds you?-_please stop killing cops we need them!

  • amehlonyosi - 2012-11-10 06:10


  • Pomp.haar.doer - 2012-11-10 07:01

    Under the Criminal Justice Act,any member of society has the fundamental right to protect him/her against any attempt to do bodly harm agianst them.This is Common Law all over the world.If the police felt that their lives where indangered by people shooting at them,they had the right to defend themselves.So this is clear nd straight forward,SHOOT AT SOMEBODY(POLICE),AND GET SHOT.Every action,leeds to a reaction by the oppisite party.

  • Michael Morreira - 2012-11-10 07:06

    That witch doctor is going to lose a lot of business after this enquiry. that muti didn't make the poor strikers invincible ;(

  • PointBlank - 2012-11-10 07:32

    The cops had every reason to believe their lives were in danger. Two of them had been savagely murdered, the actions of the miners, taking of muti, the urinating towards the cops, the war cries and battle songs... I have faced these on many occasions as a young cop back in the days. The outcome is rarely peaceful. These miners were prepared for war.. If you sprinkling muti you ready to attack.

  • clivegoss - 2012-11-10 08:06

    More focus on weapon training is called for

  • dikeledi.malatji.56 - 2012-11-10 08:19

    Those miners were totally wrong finish n klaar,Police are human being too they deserve to live for their families,they should not waited to b killed before they act,all in all they protected themselves against those heavily armed strikers in a illegal strike!!

  • jakkals616 - 2012-11-10 08:21

    Mooi wrapped up they were guilty case closed. Lets move on now SA!

  • Lorna A Bam - 2012-11-10 09:08

    Why isn't this world news? Everybody acted like the police did something wrong but if you put any one of us in the same position would we not act in the same manner? What would the reasonable man have done? Fight for his life I think...

  • erns.kleynhans.3 - 2012-11-10 09:32

    G@tvol vir die storie. Kom ons wag dat die jet oor is dan vat ons so lekker koue enetjie

  • zwivhuyamufamadi - 2012-11-10 10:00

    Prepard to die n wel their wish ws granted n who is sufering nw their wife and kids.

  • innocent.hapazari - 2012-11-10 11:11

    Are the mining houses really following the natural law of justice?? Almost 20 yrs after Aparthied our people are still working under slavery conditions and getting slavery wages. And, all what our ANC black government can do is unleashing police brutality and murder on desperate workers who don't have anyone to represent their interest, which is merely a living wage and a humane habbitate. Is that too much to ask?? No wonder Dr Mangosuthu Butelezi,in the Justice Factor, recently insisted that ANC should shoulder most of the blame for the violence and barbaric murders happening across SA. From Marikana experience, I can't agree with him more. Whatever, workers did or didn't do the key issue here is: were they not having a justifiable cause?? Why should money spinning concerns like these Pt/Au mining companies have their workers live in squalor and abject poverty, while they declare super-profits every yr? Is that what the so-called law dictates? Shame to the goverment for wasting our money with this costly inquiry when the authors of this massacre are known to everyone who does not live in the denial world. The culprits here are (1) the highly caoitalistic mining concerns (2) the greed NUM leadership, now representing their own interests, instead of workers; and (2) our careless Goverment. The principals of these instutions are the chief culprits in this matter.

  • Tello Moleko - 2012-11-10 12:56

    anti police Mpofu would like to see police running and screaming for help when chased by miners,Mpofu pls ask Vavi,he is state witness nd victim of miners

  • jam.iela.50 - 2012-11-10 13:27

    These violent South African strikers have to learn to behave themselves one way or another. Polce are doing us all a favour making an example of these bad elements in our society. Nurses and teachers fearing for their lives, wanting to come to work during strikes, hard-working people not wanting to sabotage our youth's education or the well-being of their patients fall victim to these lawless strikers who have no regard for human life. We all know the police force was brutal and unfair during the apartheid times, but let's not be too lax with enforcement, and I don't mean in collecting tv-licence payments and parking fines, but enforcement with these hard-core criminals. Let's make this country a safer place to live, where our youth can enjoy a good education and the economy can flourish, God-willing.

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