Police arrest a man at Lonmin's Marikana mine in South
Africa's North West Province last year. REUTERS/Siphiwe
A cellphone video broadcast this week of the police
shooting of 34 miners in South Africa last year has piled more
pressure on the security forces, showing officers bragging
about the killings and undermining claims that they fired in
Reuters television footage of some of the killings at
Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine showed a dozen striking
miners being cut down in a hail of police bullets.
The images of the bloodiest security incident since apartheid
shocked the world, and dented the reputation of Nelson
Mandela's "Rainbow Nation" and the ruling African National
Congress (ANC), which faces an election next year.
Since then the pay strikes have abated, but turmoil in the
sector has continued, with the world's biggest platinum
producer, Anglo American Platinum Ltd, infuriating miners and
the ANC alike with plans to mothball mines accounting for 3
pct of South Africa's workforce.
Most of the Marikana victims died in and around a small
cluster of rocks - a 'koppie' in Afrikaans - about 400 metres
(yards) away from the main confrontation, out of sight of
reporters and television cameras.
It is here that multiple witness reports have spoken of
police officers gunning down miners as they surrendered, or
shooting them in the back as they fled.
The cell phone footage from the koppie, aired on Britain's
Channel 4 television, shows a police officer lying on the
ground behind a rock with his pistol drawn.
The images were shot by a colleague, also lying in the grass,
with the barrel of his sidearm regularly moving into the
"DON'T SHOOT HIM"
The first officer indicates that a miner is on the move in
front of them. A voice can then be heard shouting: "Wait,
don't shoot him, don't shoot him."
Gunfire is then heard, and the video cuts to the body of a
man in jeans lying in the grass.
Moments later, another officer can be heard off-camera
boasting about killing the man. "That mother****er. I shot
him at least 10 times," the officer says.
Channel 4 said the body had been identified and the man had
been shot 12 times.
Police spokesman Dennis Adriao declined to comment on the
latest footage, which was submitted by police to an inquiry
into the killings in the city of Rustenburg, 120 km (70
miles) northwest of Johannesburg, according to inquiry
Ian Farlam, the retired judge heading the probe, said the
footage had been viewed by the inquiry in November and
cautioned against reading too much into it.
"The commission is of the view that it is premature to draw
conclusions from the video footage that is included in the
broadcast," he told the inquiry, according to local media.
The police have said they resorted to lethal force after
coming under fire from some armed miners. Post mortem reports
indicated 14 of the Marikana victims had been shot in the
The Farlam inquiry is due to wind up in the middle of the
year. Its findings are likely to be damning of the security
forces and could have implications for President Jacob Zuma
as he heads for an election due in just over a year.
Anglo American Platinum, which has announced plans to lay off
14,000 workers and close two mines, said on Tuesday that
talks with the government and unions to mitigate the fallout
had been "constructive".