12 June 2014

South Africa: Marikana Witness Fabricating Evidence - Mpofu

Photo: Sapa
Protesters gather on the lawns below the Union Buildings in Pretoria in an attempt to get state funding for legal counsel at the inquiry investigating strike-related violence at Marikana (file photo).

Pretoria — A police officer testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria was accused of fabricating evidence on Thursday.

"I am going to argue your evidence that strikers [at Marikana in August 2012] attacked the police should be kicked out. It's just an anecdote," said Dali Mpofu SC, for the arrested and wounded Marikana mineworkers.

Mpofu said Lt-Col Kaizer Modiba was fabricating his evidence about the violence during the mineworkers' strike at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, because he had not been in a position to witness an attack.

"I observed the attack on the police, I have no doubt about it," Modiba said during cross-examination.

He said he was about 100 metres away when he witnessed the attack.

Mpofu said Modiba's evidence was a concoction of things he had heard from people.

Modiba said he saw the aggressive strikers running alongside a police Nyala, charging at police.

He was deployed in Marikana as operational commander of the National Intervention Unit on August, 16, 2012.

Mpofu said his case was that police murdered the strikers.

"I am not prepared to entertain the insensitive utterances you are making... labelling police as killers," Modiba said.

He said police were faced with an imminent threat as the strikers were carrying dangerous weapons.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the wage-related strike at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana in August 2012.

On August 16, 2012, 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police who were trying to disarm and disperse them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed during the preceding week.

The commission was postponed to next Thursday when a man identified as Mr X was expected to testify.

He is said to have been part of a group of strikers who underwent a ritual at Marikana that included burning live sheep on the night of August 11, 2012.

The rituals were allegedly in preparation for a confrontation with police, according to documents in the SA Police Service application.

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