Marikana: Cop grilled on ‘missing’ weapons
Lawyers at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry grilled a police crime scene expert in a bid to establish why there were no traditional weapons found next to the bodies of mine workers shot by police on August 16.
Warrant Officer Patrick Thamae said when he arrived at the scene of the shooting at about 4pm, some 10 minutes after the shooting, he found that traditional weapons had been gathered in a heap near the cattle kraal where the shooting happened.
The shooting was captured by television cameras and press photographers as a group of mine workers seemed to be charging towards a line of uniformed police officers.
Thamae earlier agreed that the scene had been tampered with, referring to the fact that when he arrived at the scene he found traditional weapons piled up near the cattle kraal where the shooting had taken place.
He also said he had been handed two firearms by a police officer, which had been removed from the scene.
During cross examination by Advocate Dali Mpofu, George Bizos SC and Ishamel Semenya, Thamae said that he had not seen anyone moving the weapons or piling them into a heap.
Mpofu asked Thamae to say which of the traditional weapons found at the scene were the most dangerous.
Thamae refused, saying he could not determine that.
Mpofu asked why a stick seemed to be “sitting nicely” on the shoulder of one of the bodies and if Thamae knew who had placed it there.
Thamae said he didn’t know and added that paramedics were still treating people two hours after his arrival and some of the bodies were lying close to the kraal. He (Thamae) agreed that the weapons had been tampered with but said he did not know if the same had happened to the cartridges.
Commission chairperson retired Judge Ian Farlam said Thamae’s testimony that he arrived at the scene at 4pm seemed to contradict evidence led previously by the police that the shooting at scene two, known as Klein Koppie, had happened at 4.10pm.
Farlam made the remark when Thamae said there were already paramedics treating the injured when he arrived at the scene and that he had not heard any shooting at scene two.
The commission continues.