Yadhana Jadoo
Political Editor
2 minute read
1 Nov 2012
5:00 pm

Helicopter dropped stun grenades on miners – Marikana

Yadhana Jadoo

A police crime scene technician who recorded aerial video footage on August 16, when 34 striking miners were shot dead by police, yesterday told to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that stun grenades were released from the helicopter he was in.

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 16: People during the commemoration rally of the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre on August 16, 2014 in Rustenburg, South Africa. Thirty-four miners were killed by police on 16 August 2012 during a violent wage increase protest. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali)

Lt-Col Cornelius Johannes Botha indicated that he wished to make a statement to the commission before the aerial footage of that fateful day was viewed.

At the commission’s last adjournment on Tuesday, Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing 270 miners that were arrested and injured, said he would summon witnesses indicating that they were shot from helicopters.

“That made me think… two stun grenades were released from the chopper while I was there,” said Botha.

He added that he only remembered this after Tuesday.

There were four choppers in the area, according to Botha in answering a question by Commission Chairman, retired Supreme Court Judge Ian Farlam.

The footage which had depicted people running, as well as smoke billowing from a few areas ran for about 40 minute.

Botha said under cross examination by Mpofu, that he could not deny or confirm that two koppies, had been surrounded by various police.

He told the commission last week that he did not know what the operation was that he was told to record.

“You can see in the video that people are running,” said Botha, adding that he could not see where they were hiding

Mpofu charged that if one was close enough to throw stun grenades, they were close enough too see people.

There were about two water cannons present according to Mpofu, to which Botha agreed.

Only 10 to 20 percent of the footage on the video had been devoted to “the scene”, and another 80 to 90 percent paid attention to other areas, said Mpofu.

Justice minister Jeff Radebe has meanwhile instructed state law advisers to amend the regulations governing the Inquiry, which would make certain that representatives of those who died would be able to attend proceedings, spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said.

This followed reports that funding to assist families would be withdrawn

Advocate Dumisa Nstebenza on behalf of the families of the deceased said prior to the viewing of footage, that there was a lack of specificity on what was going to be done for families.

He submitted to the commission that Botha’s cross examination was hoped to be viewed by the families.

Farlam denied this, indicating that time available to the commission “was not limitless”.

He added that transcripts could be interpreted to families and they could be shown the video later.

Mhaga said the proposed amendment would be submitted to the President before the end of business yesterday.