Wounded Marikana miners 'shot again'

2012-12-20 16:02

Rustenberg - Protesting mineworkers who survived the initial shooting by police at Marikana on 16 August were "searched and then shot again", the Farlam commission heard on Thursday.

Advocate Lesego Mmusi, for protesters who were arrested after the shooting, said even the protesters who surrendered were shot by police officers.

This emerged when Mmusi cross-examined public order policing expert, Brigadier Zephania Mkhwanazi, on crowd control measures the police implemented that day.

"Evidence will be led, that after the eight seconds shooting, police approached the protesters who had been shot and were lying on the ground," he said.

"They searched them one by one, checking if they are dead. Those who were not dead were shot again."

At that stage, retired judge Ian Farlam, chairperson of the three-member commission intervened, asked Mmusi if he would be bringing witnesses to substantiate his claims.

Mmusi agreed.

"Assuming that this is going to be the evidence, I now want to invite your opinion as an expert," Mmusi told Mkhwanazi.

The senior policeman initially declined to comment.

Farlam said in addition to Mmusi’s claims, there were allegations that some of the victims were run over by police Nyalas. He invited Mkhwanazi to comment again.

"I did not have that information, I am hearing it from you now. If that was done, it cannot be the use of minimum force [as prescribed for police interventions]," said Mkhwanazi.

Hiding places

Mmusi continued: "Evidence will also be led that at Scene Two [the second koppie] the protesters who had ran from koppie 1, while they were hiding, the police shot at them.

"The protesters made an agreement [among themselves] to come out of the hiding place, raised their arms as a sign of surrendering. The police shot at those protesters nevertheless. That evidence will be led."

At that stage, legal representative for the police, Ishmael Semenya, SC, objected. He said Mkhwanazi was not in a position to be commenting on the allegations.

"These are questions which should properly be put to witnesses who can counter and confirm them."

Mkhwanazi was not part of the police intervention at the wage-related strikes at Marikana. He was called to the commission to give "expert opinion" on crowd management.

Mmusi insisted: "This is an expert who knows about crowd management. At that stage, the police were dealing with crowd management, it had not become crime prevention. The questions I put to him are informed by that background."

Farlam instructed Mmusi to formulate his questions.

Illegal gatherings

As the cross-examination continued, Mmusi said the reasonable action by the police officers faced with the Marikana stand-off would have been cordoning off the koppies in the evening.

"The police considered the gatherings at koppie 1 and 2 illegal. At night, the protesters would leave to go to their homes," said Mmusi.

"You would not dispute if I say cordoning off the meeting places of the strikers was the plausible thing to do before 16 August?"

In response, Mkhwanazi said on 15 August there was an agreement that the police hoped would make the protesters disperse willingly from the koppies.

The hearing continues.

The judicial commission is holding public hearings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre. The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on 16 August and 78 wounded when the police opened fire on them while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine.

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

President Jacob Zuma announced the commission in August. It was given four months to complete its work.

  • nettie.potgieter.5 - 2012-12-20 16:40

    How can qeustions like this be asked to a person who is not a eyewitness. Seems the want to put the blame on the police. All they need to do is to go to the wildcat strike today were the strikers fired at the mine security and police.

  • ian.robertreid - 2012-12-20 16:54

    Only murderes, rapists, child molesters, if shot, wounded, then 2b xecuted! no jail, no bail? IRR

  • solo.mathe.5 - 2012-12-20 17:05

    The miners were in the wrong, granted. Then the trigger-happy police made it worse! These are people with families, and they did not have to be shot at after surrendering. If this is true, the responsible police must be thrown in jail along with the surviving minors who hurt and murdered people. Two wrongs don't make a right.

      paul.vanniekerk.378 - 2012-12-20 17:56

      So the police have no families and children ... they must be stupid (like you) not to defend themselves.

  • raymond.kok3 - 2012-12-20 17:11

    you know what people who advice the minister of police should be fired ,why not advice them to come to some sort of amount for the dead and some amount for the wounded and pay it out eventually they will pay so save yourself some embarrasment and money and settle. The relatives at this stage is only interested into how much they will get,all this granstanding by the useless Mpofu and clan boils down to brass tex Madibas so settle and get it over can charge the cops later but for now get it over with

  • Strikeback - 2012-12-20 17:19

    And then the person who asked government to shoot the mineworkers was elected as deputy president.

      paul.vanniekerk.378 - 2012-12-20 17:53

      Ironic hey ? Wonder if he will vote to Nationalise our Mines ...... since he is a major stakeholder.

  • chris.buchner.12 - 2012-12-20 17:41


  • ngcowley - 2012-12-20 17:48

    Where is the proof????

  • burningdogz - 2012-12-21 06:59

    I love how they always put the photo of the one white officer carrying a gun next to all the black bodies. Where are all the people stating that News24 is biased toward white people? Love to hear your comments on this one.

  • darryl.maze1 - 2012-12-21 09:05

    It's amazing how news24 puts a pic of a white policeman walking through the dead with a gun while it was mostly black police shooting black strikers. Really PATHETIC news24, can see your trying to make this look like apartheid. You bunch of one sided idiot.

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