S.African police tracked, shot miners: video
Footage shown on British television has reignited allegations that South African police did not act wholly in self-defence when they fatally shot 34 miners during an illegal pay strike last year.
Channel 4 News this week broadcast cellphone footage of police officers trailing fleeing miners through scrubland and shooting at least one of them dead.
The footage, which was seen in November by members of a commission investigating the deaths, appears to corroborate other documentary evidence and miners’ accounts from the incident.
In the video, apparently taken by police, one officer is heard calling on his colleagues to exercise restraint.
“The guy is there running. Wait. Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him,” the officer is heard saying.
But a moment later gunshots ring out and then the camera pans over a dead body.
Another officer is heard saying: “That motherf—–. I shot him at least 10 times.”
Channel 4 News said the body was found with 12 gunshot wounds.
Police have claimed they acted in self-defence when they opened fire on the miners at Lonmin mine in Marikana.
President Jacob Zuma launched a judicial inquiry into the August 16 killings that shocked South Africa and the world, reminding many of apartheid-era brutality.
Victims lawyers have told the inquest, which is sitting in the northwestern platinum mining town of Rustenburg, that at least 14 of the miners were shot in the back, suggesting they were gunned down while fleeing from police.
The commission has already viewed video as part of the evidence it is combing through.
The violence at the mining giant Lonmin’s Marikana site was sparked by a stand-off between miners and mine owners over pay.
The inquiry team was initially scheduled to conclude its probe this month, but has asked for more time and is expected to wrap up the hearings by midyear.