South Africa: Attempt to Defeat Ends of Justice - Bizos

Photo: SAPA stringer
Police on the scene at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana in the North West where ongoing violence resulted in the shooting of a number of people on Thursday, 16 August 2012.

Rustenburg — Evidence presented at the Farlam commission indicates an attempt had been made to alter the scene of the Marikana shootings, advocate George Bizos said on Monday.

"The evidence clearly showed there is at least a strong prima facie case that there has been an attempt to defeat the ends of justice."

Bizos, for the Legal Resources Centre and Bench Marks Foundation, said senior police officers responsible for the scene, and who could have prevented the alleged tampering with the scene, needed to give evidence at the inquiry.

Bizos was responding to evidence, led by Mbuyisela Madlanga, which indicated that weapons had been placed around the bodies of protesters killed in a confrontation with police near Lonmin's Marikana mine, North West, on August 16.

Madlanga showed crime scene expert Captain Apollo Mohlaki photographs of three bodies.

He showed three photographs of each body. Two were taken in daylight and one by electric light after dark. Mohlaki took the night pictures.

Mohlaki admitted his photographs showed more weapons around the bodies than those taken earlier.

Referring to the night-time photograph of the corpse of Henry Mvuyisi Pato, Madlanga asked whether Mohlaki could see a butcher's knife and an iron rod.

"That weapon is underneath the hand or arm of the deceased?" Mohlaki said.

Drawing attention to the photographs of the same body taken in daylight, Madlanga asked: "Quite plainly, that butcher's knife is not there?".

"It is not appearing, I don't see it," Mohlaki replied.

Ishmael Semenya, representing the police said: "The national commissioner has instituted an investigation".

The investigation was launched "immediately" after the photographs were handed over two weeks ago.

Bizos said: "Who were the people who had the opportunity to really insult the administration of justice in our country?...This came as a big surprise to us."

Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, said it came as a surprise "to all of us".

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InFocus

South Africa's Mine Killings: Police Accused of Planting Weapons

Police on the scene at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana in the North West where ongoing violence resulted in the shooting of a number of people on Thursday, 16 August 2012.

Evidence indicate that an attempt had been made to alter the scene of the Lonmin mine shootings, says the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Read more »