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Cops tortured witnesses, Marikana commission told

Genevieve Quintal

The Farlam commission has heard that six people arrested in connection with murders around Marikana claim to have been tortured.

Cops tortured witnesses, Marikana commission told. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

"What is sad is since last night I've been listening to the most gory details of their assault and torture," their lawyer Dali Mpofu SC told the commission, sitting in Rustenburg.

"One person [said] he was beaten up until he soiled himself. Another lost the hearing in his right ear and another had visible scarring."

Mpofu is representing the mineworkers who were wounded and arrested when police opened fire on a group of strikers, killing 34 of them, in Marikana on August 16.

Four of the six were arrested last Tuesday while on their way back from the commission. It was claimed the arrests were an intimidation tactic.

The commission's chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam, said the allegation had been taken seriously and, if true, could affect the South African Police Service's (SAPS) case. However, it was for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to probe.

Mpofu said it had been taken to the IPID.

Ishmael Semenya SC, for the police, said it was unfortunate that Mpofu had raised the matter at the commission, before speaking to him and his legal team.

"The allegations are very serious ... and they are just thrown like that."

Semenya said the SAPS should have been warned about the allegation so it could investigate and present counter evidence.

On Wednesday, the commission was to continue hearing the evidence-in-chief of crime scene expert Captain Apollo Mohlaki.

He processed the scene on a small hill where 13 people were killed. However, proceedings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre were delayed because of a power failure. – Sapa

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