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Mpofu grills Phiyega on Marikana evidence

Adv Dali Mpofu says police should be investigated for allegedly tempering with Marikana evidence.

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

RUSTENBURG - The Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Friday heard that Marikana police deliberately tampered with evidence to strengthen their case of self-defence.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega faced tough questions at the hearing about the police's conduct when 34 miners were gunned down during an unprotected strike on August 16.

Photographs were shown to the commission of bodies with no weapons in sight.

More images were taken later of weapons placed next to the dead miners.

Phiyega said the weapons were removed to create a safe environment for paramedics to come in and treat injured protesters.

But Advocate Dali Mpofu, the legal representative for surviving miners, said that was only the police's side of the story.

He said Phiyega should not have accepted a wishy-washy report and accused her of neglecting her duties.

The commissioner said she did investigate the matter and believed there was a rational explanation for the removal of weapons.

Mpofu also suggested that police be investigated for the death of a key witness.

A sangoma, who allegedly provided miners with bulletproof muti during last year's strike, was killed execution style days before he was due to testify.

Spent cartridges from an R5 rifle were found on the scene where the Eastern Cape sangoma was killed two weeks ago.

Mpofu told the commission that this type of firearm was only issued to police officers.

Advocate Ismail Semenya, who is representing the police, said they were investigating the possibility that an R5 rifle stolen by protesters last year was used to kill the traditional healer.