New allegations on Marikana shooting, police torture

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Police are declining to comment on allegations and a newspaper report that workers killed during the Marikana shooting were fleeing from police. “We can not comment until the outcome of the commission of inquiry. We have to respect the process,” Captain Dennis Adriao told the SA Press Association.

Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini was not immediately available for comment, SAPA added. The Star newspaper reported this morning that post-mortem results from the shooting on August 16 where 34 miners were killed indicated workers were fleeing police, with many miners shot in the back.

An unnamed source close to the investigation reportedly told the newspaper, “the post-mortem reports indicate that most of the people were fleeing from the police when they got killed. A lot of them were shot in the back and the bullets exited through their chests,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed source saying.

This was in contrast to statements made by national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega a day after the shooting. Phiyega said she stood by police and had issued an order to use live ammunition because she had been told police had come under attack from miners, SAPA said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa last night received a preliminary report on police officers who are alleged to have assaulted some of the about 250 detainees linked to the Marikana incident. “The investigation is currently ongoing and the minister will be getting a final report with clear recommendations within the next few days,” a statement read. The investigation is being undertaken by the police watchdog body, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), which in terms of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act, No 1 of 2011, has a mandate to investigate any human rights abuses that involve police officers. IPID operates independently form the police but under the 2011 Act has all powers to undertake an investigation into police abuses and violations of human rights (including any allegations of torture or assault against a police officer).

The statement says the preliminary report provided to the minister confirms that on August 22, 2012 it came to the attention of the IPID investigators that detainees linked to the Marikana incident were assaulted, likely to extract confessions, by SAPS members at Phokeng and Mogwase police stations. The IPID investigators then visited Jericho Police station on 24 August 2012 where it was established that the detainees linked to the Marikana case were also assaulted at the aforesaid station. A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was registered and 40 statements were obtained from the assaulted victims in this regard.