Marikana Inquiry: Expert to testify

A fourth crime scene expert will continue testifying at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry today.

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

RUSTENBURG - Testimony of a fourth policeman will be heard at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday.

It follows heavy criticism after a witness failed to capture footage of the Marikana shooting on 16 August, from a helicopter circling the area.

Lieutenant-Colonel Cornelius Botha was ordered to record the police's operation from a helicopter, but failed to capture the actual shooting in which 34 miners were gunned down.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who is representing 20 of the victims' families, said Botha's footage did not help the commission with its investigation into what led to the Marikana bloodbath.

He said the policeman failed to capture "most of the events that matter".

Botha claims he did not know the police's plan of action that day and told the commission he was unaware that people were being killed on the ground.

A fourth crime scene expert will continue testifying today.

Meanwhile, five key witnesses will now be able to testify at the inquiry, after they were released from custody yesterday.

Nine miners have been arrested in recent weeks for murders that took place before and after the deadly shooting outside the Lonmin platinum mine.

The five men walked into the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Tuesday, where hearings are taking place, just before the inquiry adjourned for the day.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing some of the miners who were arrested after the shooting, will give further details of the release today.

Earlier this week, he said the men's release was imperative.

There have also been calls for an investigation into alleged torture and assaults on the miners by police.

Legal teams are concerned that this may scare off other miners who may need to testify.

The inquiry, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, has been instructed to determine what lead to the 47 deaths during a five-week long strike by Lonmin miners in August, when workers downed tools in demand for a R12, 500 monthly salaries.