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Farlam slams cop in Marikana Inquiry

Colonel Cornelius Botha is criticised for not adding value to the Marikana inquiry.

Retired Judge Ian Farlam listens during the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana shooting, on 3 October 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - A policeman who testified at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry was heavily criticised on Tuesday for not capturing relevant footage from the day of the shooting.

The commission heard testimony from a crime scene expert, Colonel Cornelius Botha, who recorded police operations from a helicopter on the day 34 miners were gunned down by police in the North West mining town.

The incident occurred when Lonmin miners were protesting for higher wages back in August.

At least 78 others were also injured when police opened fire on the striking workers.

President Jacob Zuma then set up an inquiry to probe the killings.

Botha was ordered to take video footage from a helicopter above, but he failed to record anything relevant.

Commissioner Ian Farlam, the retired judge commissioned by Zuma to head the inquiry, said he was not impressed with Botha.

"What is remarkable is that the only material that appears to be usable, frankly, does not help us very much."

The actual shooting was not captured in Botha's recording.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza added Botha's recordings did not add any value to the inquiry and its fact-finding mission.

"There will be other people who will come to tell the commission about what they have, by way of other material."

Botha also admitted that he could not remember any conversation in the helicopter about people being killed.

He was the first witness to be cross-examined in this inquiry.

On Monday, he said two stun grenades were released from the chopper onto the striking miners on the ground.