15 November 2012

South Africa: Evidence of Marikana Miners 'Run Over'

Rustenburg — Evidence would be presented to indicate that some striking miners were run over by police vehicles at Marikana on August 16, the Farlam Commission heard on Thursday.

Dali Mpofu, representing those injured and arrested, said there was information to this effect.

"There will be some allegations and evidence that some people were run over by Nyalas," he said.

Nyalas are police armoured vehicles.

The commission is holding public hearings in Rustenburg as part of its investigation into the killing of 34 miners on August 16.

They were shot dead when police tried to disperse striking workers near the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West.

Some of them were found dead at Wonderkop, a hilltop near the mine where strikers used to gather before the shooting.

Mpofu on Thursday was cross-examining Warrant Officer Patric Thamae, who processed the crime scene where 16 protesters were killed at Wonderkop.

Thamae replied: "I have never observed tracks of Nyalas going on the side of (the crime scene where) the bodies (were)."

Mpofu also asked him about the instructions police received.

Thamae said police were told the striking workers would gather on the hilltop, surrender their weapons and disperse peacefully.

The police would then process the weapons.

Mpofu asked: "The briefing you received, at no stage was this changed to the possibility of something else happening?"

"No," Thamae said.

Just before the lunch break, the commission viewed video footage of the scene.

The first video opened with patches of blood on the grass and shoes lying abandoned.

Blood-soaked bodies were scattered in some places, and in one place there were several corpses close together. Some of the images very graphic.

On top of one of the bodies was a stick, the only weapon visible other than a pile of pangas and rods gathered by police before filming.

There was a branch of large thorns caught in the clothing of one of the dead protesters.

Towards the end of the footage, filmed about two hours after the shooting, paramedics can be seen attending to the wounded.

Some of the wounded were moving, others were lying still.

Another video, filmed later that night, showed how the location of cartridge cases was marked by police with coloured cones and numbered labels.

The hearing continues.

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