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Your weekly Farlam, Seriti wrap: Miners shot with hands up

Sarah Evans

We wrap up weekly findings from two of SA's most important commissions of inquiry - the Farlam Marikana probe, and the Seriti arms deal inquiry.

Ntsebeza read out the names of seven miners who he said would have died “dignified deaths” if they had received medical assistance in time. (Paul Botes, M&G)

This week at the Farlam commission of inquiry, evidence emerged that miners at scene two, or the small koppie, were shot at with their hands in the air in surrender. General Ganasen Naidoo, North West deputy provincial commissioner, is in the witness stand.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 34 striking miners at Marikana in August 2012, and the deaths of ten people, including two security guards and two police officers, in the preceding week.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the widows and families of the deceased miners, this week read out statements from Marikana survivors, given to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). The witnesses testified to seeing their fellow strikers shot at after they had raised their hands in surrender.

Naidoo denied that this was the case, and added that he arrived at the scene after the shootings took place.

Photographs of the bodies of four miners who died at scene two, Anele Mdizeni, Thabiso Johannes Thelejane, Mr Nkosiyabo Xalabile, Henry Mvuyisi Pato, were shown. Their families were given the opportunity to leave the commission due to the graphic nature of the pictures.

The photographs revealed that the miners were killed after their hands had been tied with cable ties by the police.

At least one miner, Mzideni, was shot from 42m away, approximately the length of two cricket pitches – a distance too long for the officer shooting to have felt threatened by Mzideni, Ntsebeza argued. He said it was therefore not possible for the police to argue they were shooting in self-defense at scene two.

The miners were among those who fled scene one, or the main koppie, after the first 17 miners were killed there.

Ntsebeza said Naidoo should be held responsible for the miners who died as a result of their injures at scene two, as the police officers at the scene did not assist the injured miners. Ntsebeza said this was because the police were afraid of being liable for damages claims. Naidoo denied this. 

Ntsebeza read out the names of seven miners who he said would have died “dignified deaths” if they had received medical assistance in time.

Seriti commision of inquiry
Armscor’s acting senior manager for the defence industrial participation (DIP) programme, Pieter Burger, began giving evidence.

Arms deal companies signed offset obligations, which included DIPs and National Industrial Participation (NIP) packages. The NIPs were managed by the department of trade and industry.

The obligations were supposed to create thousands of jobs and investment to “offset” the costs of purchasing the arms.

Burger explained that Armscor was not responsible for negotiating the DIP contracts, but was responsible for the administration of the agreements. He said to date, no penalties have been claimed from any of the companies involved in the DIPs.

Burger gave the commission a technical explanation about the process by which arms companies would claim credits in exchange for their investments or jobs created.

As City Press reported in February, an internal DTI report recently revealed that the offsets did not create the investment or jobs that they promised.


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