20 November 2012

South Africa: Ballistic Reports On Marikana Available

Rustenburg — A ballistic report detailing how firearms were used during the Marikana shooting was ready, a lawyer representing the police told the Farlam commission in Rustenburg on Tuesday.

Advocate Tebogo Mathibedi SC, representing the police at the commission, said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) was told to collect the report from the forensics laboratory in Pretoria.

Chairman of the three-member commission, retired judge Ian Farlam, told the leader of the evidence-leading team, advocate Mbuyiseli Madlanga, to get the report “as soon as possible”.

“It is very important for this commission to have that ballistic report.

I'm not sure if it will be IPID or you getting it, but what is important is (that) we get it as soon as possible,” said Farlam.

Madlanga assured the commission the report would be brought in “fairly urgently”.

“It seems there are certain formalities with regards to us laying our hands on the report. We were told that since these (investigations linked to the report) are IPID investigations on the SAPS, the report will be given to IPID. We will make sure that we get it soon,” said Madlanga.

Farlam urged Madlanga to “prepare scissors to cut through the red tape”.

The commission is holding public hearings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, North West, as part of its inquiry into the deaths of 34 striking miners killed in a confrontation with police on August 16 in Marikana. Another 78 people were wounded in the shooting and scores were arrested.

Earlier, a legal representative for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, Xoli Gumbi, questioned national police training co-ordinator Brigadier Petrus Breytenbach on the capability of officers to negotiate a wage impasse.

“We are told that senior police officials tried (before the shooting of 34 protesters) to persuade Lonmin and the protesters to sit down and negotiate. Are these senior police officers trained, and have the skills to persuade an employer who is not willing to negotiate?" asked Gumbi.

Breytenbach said while he did not have information on the particular officers who talked to Lonmin officials, senior police officers generally had certain conflict resolution competencies.

“Taking from the seniority of the officers, I think they have obtained negotiation skills,” Breytenbach said.

Asked about his opinion on the police's negotiation role, he said the officers had gone beyond the call of duty.

“That was responsible action by the members. That was their part in trying to find a peaceful resolution.”

The commission was told that another police witness who was scheduled to be brought in after Breytenbach would only be available on Wednesday.

The evidence-leading team then asked to show video footage of events captured between August 9 and 16, when the commission resumed after an adjournment.

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