Marikana trial: Cop testifies about collecting blood swabs, evidence

The rocky outcrop at Marikana where 34 miners were gunned down by police in August 2012. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu / African News Agency (ANA)

Mushwana, who has been in the police service for 27 years, said he registered the collected evidence the following day, 14 August, at Marikana police station.

Blood was found on knobkerries and self-made spears at crime scenes days before the infamous 2012 Marikana massacre, in which striking miners were shot dead, the North West High Court has heard.

This emerged when Lieutenant Colonel Moses Mushwana took the witness stand in the so-called Marikana trial in which former North West deputy police commissioner Major General William Mpembe and five others stand accused.

Mushwana told the court about his role at the crime scenes, following events that unfolded at Lonmin K3 shaft in Marikana – three days before the infamous massacre in August 2012.

Mpembe, retired Colonel Salmon Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye and Warrant Officers Katlego Sekgweleya, Masilo Mogale and Khazamola Makhubela are on trial.

News24 previously reported that Mpembe faces four charges of murder for the deaths of Semi Jokansi, Thembelakhe Mati, Hendrick Monene and Sello Lepaaku. He also faces five charges of attempted murder. His co-accused each face one count of murder. Mushwana is Number 25 on the witness list.

The witness said he was a captain at the time and attended the scene to collect forensic evidence and photographs.

He told Judge Tebogo Djadje that he arrived at around 16:31.

Once there, he made observations, took photos, prepared sketch plans and collected other evidence, including blood swabs and cartridges from firearms. He attended two crime scenes on the day, he said.

Exhibits sent to forensic laboratory

The witness testified that he also collected blood swabs from knobkerries and self-made spears.

Mushwana, who has been in the police service for 27 years, said he registered the collected evidence the following day, 14 August, at Marikana police station.

He said he only completed working on them after midnight on the 13 August.

Mushwana then went to the Rustenburg Local Crime Records Centre where they were kept in a storeroom.

He said he sent the exhibits to the forensic science laboratory in Pretoria on 28 August 2012.

He also informed the court that he revisited the two crime scenes on 14 August and 9 October 2012. During the 9 October visit, he discovered three more cartridge cases which he also registered at the station after that.

When State advocate Kenneth Mashile questioned why he revisited the crime scenes, Mushwana said revisits during the day were procedure in cases where officers were at crime scenes at night.

The court adjourned for the lunch break.

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