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Police accused of ‘changing’ Marikana evidence

Police have been accused of planting weapons next to dead miners after the Lonmin shooting.

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

RUSTENBURG - Police involved in the shooting outside the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana have been accused of tampering with crime scene evidence, by planting weapons next to dead miners.

Crime scene footage shown at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on Monday appeared to contain incriminating evidence against the officers who gunned down 34 miners during an illegal strike over wages in August.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega apparently knew about these allegations because an investigation had already been instituted.

But it was news to the commission who saw photos of bodies at the crime scene.

No weapons were visible in pictures taken earlier, but traditional weapons were seen surrounding the bodies in the pictures taken later.

Advocate George Bizos, who is representing some of the miners involved in the 16 August clash, said that was a deliberate cover up.

"Changing the evidence is a very serious offence."

Evidence has also emerged suggesting that police shot miners who were hiding and some who had been handcuffed.

The commission, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, was set up to determine what led to the deadly shooting and violence during the dispute for basic salaries of R12,500.

It was tasked with finding out the roles of Lonmin management, police, unions and other mine stakeholders in events that led up to the clash.