New Marikana video shock
North West - Two men crawl submissively under the gun-wielding police guard. One crumples to the ground, while another gets a tap on the backside, causing him to slither forward.
Then a voice barks out: “Go down, go down!”
Some officers are seen lying behind large rocks as if taking cover, then a voice is heard indicating a target has just been sighted.
“Somebody shoot him from that side!” The response comes fast, “Wait, don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him!”
Despite the latter’s frantic appeal, a gunshot rings out and subtitles indicate that the not-so-audible voice is saying: “That motherf*****! I shot him at least 10 times.”
These shocking scenes form part of a dramatic video clip that independent British television station Channel 4 claims to be the first video recordings to appear in public of the shootings at a koppie in Marikana on August 16 last year.
The deaths at the second scene took place away from the full glare of the media and have been the subject of argument and counter-argument at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the massacre near Rustenburg.
In the footage, police officers are seen moving around a body described as that of Lonmin miner Thobile Mpumza, 26, whose body – the commission later heard – was found riddled with 12 bullet wounds.
Channel 4 claims two police officers took the footage when police shot dead 34 Lonmin employees.
A gun barrel and the faces of several police officers are clearly visible in the footage.
It is, however, the voices that accompany the footage that indicate much of what could have happened at the second scene of the shooting.
Although some voices are not clearly audible in the news clip, the Channel 4 news commentator said police were boasting about how they had killed the miners and about their “prowess with weapons”.
A man is heard speaking in Afrikaans in an apparent exchange between him and other officers.
“Look at how they were shooting at us, ga-ga-gagaga-ga… He had a smaller gun,” the man is indicated to be saying.
It is not clear, though, if the man is an officer talking about miners shooting at them, or a miner talking about police shooting Lonmin employees.
Police have maintained that they were forced to use lethal force.
Channel 4 reports in the clip that police had “come heavily armed, backed by elite special task force officers, for what looks like a final showdown with the miners”.
The footage captures men lying face down. It is not clear if they are dead or alive, while more bodies are seen lying among large rocks.
Also seen in the footage are police officers standing atop a stony mound, looking on as bodies covered in blankets lie strewn around the ground below them.
Teboho Mosikili, an attorney from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, which has instructed advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC to act on behalf of the dead miners’ families, confirmed to The Star on Monday that the commission had seen most of the Channel 4 footage.
Police spokesman Captain Dennis Adriao referred questions to the commission.