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Tue Oct 21 12:28:08 SAST 2014

Marikana inquiry updates: 23 October 2012

Sapa, Times LIVE | 23 October, 2012 11:56
Nkaneng residents dig a grave during a site inspection by the Marikana commission of inquiry yesterday Picture: LAUREN MULLIGAN

All of today's stories on the Marikana inquiry in one place.

Cop did not record Marikana shooting - Sapa

This was the testimony of Lt-Col Johannes Cornelius Botha on Tuesday before the Farlam commission of inquiry investigating the August 16 shootings.

 

Botha was questioned over his statement that he had not captured any moment where police were shooting at the protesting mineworkers.

 

Botha told the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, that he was told to get into the helicopter and film a police operation. He did not know what the operation was.

 

Farlam said the video was meant to be of the operation, but Botha did not get there in time. Botha agreed.

 

"A major part of the operation was already over by the time you started recording?" Farlam asked.

 

Botha affirmed this.

 

"So the purpose for getting you there failed?" asked Farlam.

 

Again Botha agreed.

 

Human rights advocate George Bizos, representing the families of the miners killed, asked Botha: "Did you record any shooting? You told us you went into the air when the first shooting had happened. Did you then record the second shooting?"

 

Botha replied: "I only knew about the second shooting when I got to the ground. I did not see the shooting when it happened."

 

Bizos wanted to know if his footage showed any shooting.

 

"I did not see any shooting at all," he replied.

 

This prompted Bizos to ask: "Would you agree, if I put it bluntly, that on this momentous occasion in South Africa's history, where 35 people were killed, a colonel in the employ of the police was on a helicopter when this was happening, his job was to film, but he managed to avoid filming people being killed?"

 

Botha said he would not agree with that.

 

"I was not the one flying the chopper. I filmed what I saw on the ground."

 

Bizos persisted: "Would you agree that you failed to record that bit of South African history? What was the rank of the other officer sitting next to you in the helicopter?"

 

Botha responded: "He was a brigadier. I do not remember what he was talking about."

 

A brigadier is more senior in rank than a lieutenant-colonel.

 

Bizos asked Botha if the brigadier was giving orders to people on the ground. He asked about the "subject matter" of the brigadier's communication.

 

Botha said he could not recall what the brigadier was talking about on the police radio.

 

Bizos asked: "Okay, that brigadier you were with in the helicopter, was he as ignorant as you?"

 

Marikana scenes mapped out - Sapa

A map of events in Marikana between August 12 and 16 was shown on Tuesday to the Farlam Commission into the shooting of Lonmin platinum mine workers.

Crime scene technician Lt-Col Cornelius Johannes Botha pointed out 12 crime scenes -- marked A to L on a Google map.

The scenes included areas where two security guards were killed, where police officers were killed, and four areas where "civilian" bodies were found.

It also showed the hill in Wonderkop where miners gathered, called scene one; and a kraal and a small hill, called scene two.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is tasked with establishing the cause of police opening fire on a group of striking miners encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 and wounding 78 on August 16.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, among them two policemen and two security guards.

Botha also showed an aerial photo of the area on August 13 -- when two policemen and three mineworkers were killed in clashes -- showing the crime scenes to which he attended.

He pointed out on the photo the locations where he had found bodies, spent cartridges and other objects.

In one area, Botha said he found 10 9mm cartridge cases, two rubber bullets from a shotgun and three shotgun cartridge cases.

There were also two small pools of blood close to each other, said Botha.

In a second area, he found a shotgun cartridge case, a piece of folded paper with possibly dagga inside, a ballistic round, a shotgun cartridge, two R5 cartridge cases and a shoe.

At a third scene, shown on the photo, Botha said he found eight shotgun cartridges, two R5 cartridge cases, four gas rubbers, and a stun grenade handle.

Two knobkerries, a woollen cap, a piece of sharpened iron and a blanket were also found.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga, who was leading Botha's evidence, asked him if his team had made its best attempt in putting the information together for the commission.

Botha said the evidence team had told him how he should put the photos together.

Farlam asked Botha if he had thoroughly searched the scene.

Botha said he had, but that "you have to draw a line somewhere, you can't search all the way to Marikana".

Advocates for the various parties were given a chance to cross-examine Botha's evidence.

Family members of dead miners distraught over footage - Sapa

Family members of miners shot and killed at the Lonmin Platinum mine collapsed and broke into loud sobs as video footage of the shooting was shown to the judicial commission of inquiry on Tuesday.

Proceedings came to a halt as a number of women wailed and fell to the floor.

A woman started screaming and shouting as another two tried to console her.

Many had to be carried out as their emotions took over.

Commission chair retired judge Ian Farlam apologised to the families, saying he had not realised that particular footage was of the shooting.

The police opened fire while trying to disperse a group encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 mineworkers and wounding 78 on August 16.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

Three video clips supplied by eNews were shown to the commission.

The first two videos were from August 16 about an hour before the shooting.

This was to give the commission context to what happened before the shooting.

The third video showed the miners on the hill and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa on his knees, pleading with them to leave.

The footage then showed the moment police opened fire.

Straight afterwards the auditorium at the Rustenburg Civic Centre fell silent.

The silence was then broken by distraught family members reacting to the footage they had just seen.

Slain Marikana guards' families devastated: lawyer - Sapa

Families of two mine security guards killed in the violence leading to the mass shootings on August 16 at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana were in distress, a lawyer told the judicial commission of inquiry on Tuesday in Rustenburg.

Tshepiso Rampile, for the families, appealed to the commission led by retired judge Ian Farlam to consider the plight of the families.

"The whole future of these two security guards' families has changed direction and will never again take the same direction. The extent of the hurt and devastation I saw in the families' members really needs attention," said Rampile.

"These families do not have means and are unable to consult in the manner they would want to. If there is a possibility that an interim recommendation for these families can be made, that will be in order," he said.

At that stage Farlam, chairman of the three member commission instructed the lawyer to contact the evidence leading team and facilitate contact with the families.

Rampile said the two guards, Frans Mabelane and Hassan Fundi, were off-duty on August 12 and were instructed to go back to work to provide reinforcements to contain the volatile protests.

"They were called to come and give back because of the strike," said Rampile.

He said the families, in seeking justice for their slain breadwinners, would want the commission to establish whether the security guards were, among other things, adequately trained and equipped to deal with the dangerous situation.

Days after the guards were killed, police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of protesters encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 mineworkers and wounding 78 on August 16.

The protesters had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen, and two of them the security guards Mabelane and Fundi.

Women cry at Marikana hearing  - Sapa

Two women broke down in tears and had to be consoled on Tuesday when the Farlam Commission heard how two security guards were hacked to death.

The commission was told that the security guards' families wanted to give evidence at the inquiry.

It is tasked with establishing the cause of a shooting in which 34 striking Lonmin workers died and 78 were wounded when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group encamped on a hill in Nkaneng on August 16.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

Family members of those killed sat in the first two rows of the auditorium at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, where the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is holding hearings.

Traditional land 'infested' by migrant workers: lawyer - Sapa

The Bapo Ba Mogale royal family and its traditional community is upset that its land is being "infested" by migrant workers and job seekers, the Farlam Commission into the Marikana shooting heard on Tuesday.

"Lonmin had entered into a notarial lease with the Bapo Ba Mogale royal family... Wonderkop is a sub-community of Bapo Ba Mogale and falls in its jurisdiction," the royal family's lawyer Karabo Bareng Kgoroeadira said.

"Sadly, the Bapo Ba Mogale traditional community is struggling for basic rights such as water and sanitation."

She said these social struggles contributed to the "boil which has been simmering around the mines".

A notarial mineral lease, which is an obligation to pay royalties to the tribal authorities, was signed between the royal family and Lonmin platinum mine in the 1970s.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is tasked with establishing the cause of a shooting in which 34 striking Lonmin workers died and 78 were wounded when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group encamped on a hill in Nkaneng on August 16.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

At the hearing on Tuesday, Kgoroeadira said the shooting had affected the traditional community.

"The Bapo Ba Mogale community is frustrated with Lonmin.

"Lonmin have been operating for a considerable period of time... without any regard for the social conditions [for those] on whose land they operate," she said.

It was because of Lonmin that there was a burden of informal settlements in the area.

Kgoroeadira said Lonmin had failed to meet its socio-economic obligations, which included infrastructure and job creation in the area, in terms of the mining charter.

"Lonmin is exploiting minerals that belong to the royal family and its traditional community," she said.

Ramaphosa features prominently in Marikana hearing - Sapa

ANC heavyweight and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa's name was prominent on the second day of hearings, at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, into the Marikana shootings.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the miners injured and arrested after the shooting on August 16, said there was an e-mail in which Ramaphosa strongly condemned the protests, described them as criminal acts and suggested "concomitant action".

"This [email] was on 15 August at 2.58pm, exactly 24 hours before the people were mowed down on that mountain," said Mpofu.

"We have e-mails that were being exchanged between Lonmin management, government ministers [of mineral resources and the police] and at the centre is a gentleman called Cyril Ramaphosa," he said.

"He advanced that what was taking place were criminal acts and must be characterised as such. In line with this characterisation [Ramaphosa said] there needs to be concomitant action to address the situation," said Mpofu.

He said the email was addressed to a certain "dear Albert of Lonmin".

Mpofu said Ramaphosa had called for action to deal with the "criminals, whose crime was to seek a wage increase".

Mpofu pledged that his team would find justice for his clients.

"We are going to get justice, either here or at any other forum, even the ICC [International Criminal Court], where we will lay charges against the police who shot our people," he said.

Mpofu said evidence would be led to discredit claims that the shootings were spontaneous acts committed in self-defence by police officers.

"What happened was premeditated murder of defenceless people. It had been agreed at a police meeting held on August 16 that ‘stage 3' of their plan was going to be executed and those discussions had gone as far as [the] police commissioner and the minister," he said.

Mpofu said that on August 16, the North West police provincial commissioner had called journalists and told them that "today is the day".

He said among the cause of the Marikana tragedy was a "toxic collusion between the state and capital".

"The main causes of the massacre are the SA Police Service [SAPS], other agencies of government, and Lonmin. The people I represent here seek the truth for themselves and their colleagues who passed away," he said.

Mpofu described the actions of the police as "murder and extra-judicial killings".

He claimed people who had fled were caught by the police, that they surrendered and were shot, some in the face.

Allegations that the protesters were under a "muti spell" and believed that they were invincible and invisible was "nonsense".

"I hope that this commission will not degenerate to those levels. If these people thought they were invisible, why did they run away? Those suggestions are baseless and ridiculous," he said.

The police opened fire while trying to disperse a group encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 mineworkers and wounding 78 on August 16.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

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