2 minute read
8 Sep 2014
11:59 am

Farlam Commission of Inquiry inspects Marikana

A large crowd of lawyers, police officers, journalists and evidence leaders gathered in Marikana, North West, on Monday for an inspection "in loco" by the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

FILE PICTURE: Commissioner Ian Farlam at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on December 18, 2012, in Rustenburg, South Africa. The commission is investigating what led to the deaths of 46 people during an illegal wage strike by Lonmin mine workers. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Moeletsi Mabe) .

A lengthy convoy formed along the dusty Lonmin Platinum mine roads as the team moved through areas related to the August 2012 shooting of Marikana miners during a strike.

It was led by retired judge Ian Farlam, who chairs the inquiry, and drove to several areas spoken about during the probe into the shootings.

Several police Nyalas (armoured vehicles) and a water cannon were at the hill where the miners were shot. A helicopter hovered overhead.

Earlier this month, Farlam said the inspection would focus only on areas linked to the shootings on August 16.

“We are confining our attention to the events of the 16th [August 2012]. We anticipate that it will probably take us the whole day,” he said.

“Parties are requested to communicate with evidence leaders which spots they would want to be inspected by close of business on Wednesday. We have held other inspections earlier.”

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police on August 16. More than 70 people were wounded and more than 200 were arrested. The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them at the time.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

During an inspection in October 2012, two North West crime scene experts led Farlam and his team around the area where the 34 were shot dead.

Warrant Officer Patrick Thamae pointed out where bodies were found near the hill where the mineworkers had assembled in the days leading up to August 16.

Another inspection was held in March 2013 near Lonmin’s K3 shaft. The commission’s members retraced the steps of miners and police officers on August 13.

On that day, Warrant officers Hendrick Tsietsi and Sello Ronnie Lepaaku were hacked to death in a confrontation with protesting mineworkers.

– Sapa