Proceedings at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry got under way more than 30 minutes late as a result of a meeting in which lawyers and commissioners mulled over police video footage flighted by British television’s Channel 4.
Commission chairperson retired Judge Ian Farlam apologised for the late start and explained that they had been locked in a meeting to discuss the video and this morning’s newspaper reports following its broadcast.
However, Farlam did not disclose what exactly had been discussed about the video and if any decision had been taken regarding its broadcast.
The footage was shown to the commission in November last year. City Press published the video on its website and carried a story in the print edition on November 10 last year.
The video footage was taken by cellphone by police officers during at the scene where 18 of the 34 miners were shot dead by police at Marikana on August 16 last year.
The scene was not captured by television and press cameras as the area was cordoned off by barbed wire.
The scene, dubbed Klein Koppie, is located a few hundred metres away from the scene captured by media cameras in which police opened fire and killed 16 mineworkers who seemed to be charging at them.
In the video a police officer is heard boasting that he’d destroyed the victim after shooting him as he fled. The body was that of 26-year-old Thobile Mpumza, whose body was riddled with 12 bullet wounds.
Another officer is heard saying as they move around the body: “There’s the muti there, there!”
To which another replies: “It doesn’t work here baba!”
When proceedings eventually got under way this morning, it was shown a video of the commission’s in-loco inspection on October 2 in which National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch secretary Daluvuyo Bongo was pointing out scenes of violent confrontations during the strike by Lonmin workers in August last year.
Bongo was killed three days later by gunmen who pumped six bullets into his body. The commission was listening to the evidence of NUM’s Rowland Shaft’s vice secretary Saziso Albert Gegeleza.
The hearing continues.