21 January 2013

South Africa: Lack of Marikana Evidence - Inquiry

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard that the police should have handled the negotiations with striking mineworkers in a different way so as ... ( Resource: Police Handling of Marikana under spotlight

Johannesburg — There has been a disturbing absence of evidence on the Marikana shootings, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard in Rustenburg on Monday.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the 34 slain striking miners, said he had been unable to obtain footage from police on the shootings.

He told public order policing expert Brigadier Zephania Mkhwanazi that the footage was either being suppressed or had been destroyed.

"It may well be that the evidence existed, but was destroyed or deleted.

I'm not saying by you."

Mkhwanazi said he understood, and would be forthcoming with information.

"What I know I will definitely disclose."

Ntsebeza said it was disturbing that there was no footage of police behaviour and no review by police, despite a nine-day meeting in Potchefstroom after the shooting.

"Are you saying under oath that you were never part of a review?" he asked Mkhwanazi.

"Councillor, I will say again. No, we never had a separate meeting for the purpose of reviewing."

Mkhwanazi said if he was part of a review recommendations would have to be made. And the commission had been established for that purpose.

He was questioned on what video footage of the shootings he saw prior to the inquiry.

"The one I saw was from the media. I was informed there were some from the police, but I never saw that."

Ntsebeza repeatedly questioned Mkhwanazi on where he heard about the police footage and why he had not insisted on seeing it. He said he heard about it in general discussions and from a camera operator.

"I was shown what I was shown, but I never asked specifically where is that material."

Ntsebeza said Mkhwanazi showed a remarkable reluctance to know what was contained in the footage.

"It's not the case that I never took it seriously. I had the belief that all video footage would become available."

He admitted he did not ask what the video footage contained, but maintained he believed it would be included in the inquiry.

The inquiry, into the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine in August, resumed at the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Monday. It is chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam. The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on August 16, 2012 and 78 wounded when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

President Jacob Zuma announced the commission in August.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 South African Press Association. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.