Hostile witnesses, budget slowing Marikana probe - IPID

2016-02-02 18:38


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Cape Town – Hostile witnesses and a lack of money are preventing police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) from meeting its March deadline to implement the Farlam Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations.

They had not foreseen that witnesses would not want to cooperate, IPID acting head Israel Kgamanyane and his team, including Marikana lead investigator Sam Kgomo, and North West provincial head Joel Mosimanegape, told MPs on Tuesday.

A key witnesses had relocated, and when he was found, became hostile and referred the team to his lawyers.

“We started to engage their legal representatives, and they will start cooperating with us,” Kgamanyane said.

IPID on Tuesday briefed Parliament's police committee on the implementation of the Farlam Commission’s recommendations.

The IPID had estimated that the investigations into the Marikana shootings would take nine months, from July 2015 to March 2016, but the deadline would have to be extended.

The commission, headed by the retired judge Ian Farlam, investigated the killing of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, in August 2012. On August 16, police shot dead 34 miners. The previous week 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed. 

In its report, the commission called for an investigation into the police’s shooting of strikers on August 16, whether they exceeded the bounds of self- and private defence, the delay in getting the wounded medical help, the involvement of senior officers, and the delay in stopping the operation.

The investigating team should be headed by a senior state advocate, and include crime scene reconstruction and ballistic experts, forensic pathologists, and senior IPID investigators.

Kgamanyane said they would have to find a way to adjust the budget so the investigations could continue past March.

It was difficult because the IPID had to use its own budget, and there were no additional sources of money.

MPs raised concerns about the use of the state's ballistics experts on the investigating team.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said the team should employ independent experts.

DA MP Zakhele Mbhele and other committee members concurred, saying the SAPS should not be involved in the investigation.

IPID said their limited budget was the reason for their use of police experts. Police were also refusing to share their equipment with the independent consultants.

The IPID had opened criminal cases against suspended national commissioner Riah Phiyega and former North West commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo for allegedly obstructing the Farlam Commission’s work.

Read more on:    marikana inquiry

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