Cop found gun near Marikana bodies

The officer told the inquiry he found a loaded pistol near the bodies of four Marikana miners.

Police open fire at protesting workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West on 16 August, 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

RUSTENBURG - A policeman on Wednesday testified that he found a loaded pistol near the bodies of four Marikana miners on the day of the deadly shooting.

Speaking at the commission of inquiry in Rustenburg, Captain Apollo Mahlaki told the hearing he attended to the scene where 34 miners were gunned down during a clash with police on August 16.

The workers were protesting over wages and better working conditions when the violence erupted.

Before the shooting, 10 others were killed, including policemen and a security guard.

Mahlaki said he found a loaded pistol lying between four bodies that were gunned down near the koppie in the North West town.

"[The pistol] was lying on the ground and it was in a holster magazine."

Mahlaki said he also found traditional weapons, including spears and knobkerries, near the other bodies scattered in the area.

The commission was established by President Jacob Zuma to probe the violence during the five-week long illegal strike.