Marikana: ‘They deserve to die’

Fresh allegations of a police killing frenzy at Marikana have surfaced during cross-examination of national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga SC presented a damning statement during Phiyega’s cross-examination in which a police officer stationed at the K-9 Unit stationed in Mahikeng, North West, gives details of a police officer shooting an injured person at point blank range.

The statement, by Hendrich Wouter Myburgh, is in sync with evidence previously led before the commission that police went on a killing frenzy at Marikana on August 16, shooting people with arms raised in surrender or those lying injured on the ground and some handcuffed.

The killing frenzy is alleged to have occurred at a scene dubbed Klein Koppie, several hundred metres away from the scene captured by television and press cameras when police fired at armed mine workers who appeared to be charging at them at Marikana on August 16 last year.

In total, 34 people were killed by police that day, 16 of them at the first scene that was captured by the media and another 18 at the scene of the alleged killing frenzy.

In his statement, Myburgh said he took cover behind vehicle doors when he approached Klein Koppie after he realised they were being shot at by mine workers hidden among the rocks.

He said after most of the shooting had stopped he entered into the koppie searching for suspects to arrest.

“I found about three injured people lying down ad turned away from them searching for other suspects. I suddenly heard a gunshot behind me as I turned I saw a NIU (National Intervention Unit) Constable who is unknown to me putting his side firearm in his leg holster while he was standing next to the injured I first met who was having a jersey wrapped around his arm.

“I asked him the NIU constable what is going on he replied by saying they deserve to die and he moved away.”

The NIU, Special Task Force, Tactical Reaction Unit, Public Order Policing, Crime Intelligence, Detective Services and the K-9 were the units were deployed at Marikana on August 16 when police attempted to break up a protest by about 3 000 mine workers.

Myburgh said he reported the incident to a Major-General Naidoo and later to North West provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Zukiswa Mbombo and Phiyega.

Phiyega said she asked Naidoo to look into the matter, but that there had been difficulty in pursuing the matter because Myburgh had not provided them with a name and had said he could not remember what the Constable looked like.

Madlanga then read out documents providing details of NIU officers deployed at the scene on the day of the alleged incident, in which he pointed out that only two constables from the unit had fired 9mm pistols.

Madlanga argued that if the police wanted to pursue the matter they could have done so based on the documents.

The hearing continues.