News: DECEMBER 2013

05 December 2013

Brigadier Calitz continued to be cross-examined by Adv. Ntsebeza.
Advocate Ntsebeza asked if it was true that there was no striker who was arrested for possession of a shotgun in relation to the Marikana operation. The witness said he is unsure because two guns that were taken from Lonmin security officers have not been recovered.
The Brigadier said he does not know of any police officer who saw a striker who was in possession of a shotgun and that if it happened there would have been a statement to this effect.

The Advocate said senior police officers who were at the scene knew at 16:05 that there was a need for paramedics at scene 1. The first paramedics arrived at the scene at 16:53. Mr Calitz said he cannot confirm the time or say that he has seen it. The Advocate then said that the first paramedics arrived at scene 2 at 16:31, according to a Johannesburg water cannon picture.

“Al Jazeera reported in one of their clips that it took one hour for paramedics to arrive.” The brigadier did not dispute this.
“As operational commander, are you prepared to take responsibility for the one hour delay that took place?” asked the advocate. “No, I was not told of this delay by the paramedics; I would have addressed it had I known. I was not the overall commander, I was just the operational commander and I was not in charge of the paramedics.

Advocate Ntsebeza read out a statement from a paramedic who stated that police officers refused when they wanted to group survivors according to their injuries. According to the statement, the police said the injured strikers were not to be attended to because they were crime suspects.
“Is it standard protocol for SAPS to allow people to die because they are crime suspects?” asked the Advocate. The witness replied by saying: ‘No, certainly not.’

The brigadier said he does not know who stopped the paramedics from attending to the injured strikers. He testified that Colonel Makhubele was in charge of scene 1 when he left and that the Colonel was moving with all the vehicles and was physical on the ground. “When I left scene 1 I reported on the radio to papa nyala’s that I was leaving the scene. Colonel Makhubele knew that in my absence he was in charge,” said the witness.
“As operational commander, for you to not have seen or heard shootings at both scene 1 and 2, my clients say this is consistent of your attempt to seek to evade responsibility on what happened on that day,” said Advocate Ntsebeza. Brigadier Calitz said he does not agree and that photographs will confirm where he was.

Brigadier Calitz said he still stands by what he said on 18/08/2012 when he addressed a parade of police officers. Adv. Ntsebeza said this is the largest number of people killed by police since the Sharpeville killings in 1960 and he asked the brigadier whether this was something to congratulate the police for. “I did not mention anything about the shooting or the attack. I was thanking them for holding the police line, implementing strategic points in the plan and for disarming and arresting the strikers and that is why I was congratulating them and this was nothing related to the deaths. I was not congratulating them for the killings that had occurred. “Your attitude seems to say ‘well, 34 people were killed but what were the police to do?’ Do you want to be perceived in this light?” asked the Advocate. The Brigadier said he totally disagrees.

04 December 2013

Advocate Ntsebeza continued cross-examining Brigadier Calitz.
The legal representative for families of the deceased, Adv. Ntsebeza, said that at scene 1 there was more ammunition fired by TRT than POP. He further said out of 284 sharp point ammunition that was fired at scene 1, only 37 was fired by POP. The Brigadier replied by saying that he was not physically there and he does not have the facts. Brig Calitz also said he cannot help the Commission with regards to whether there was any warning shots fired at Marikana.
The witness agreed with the Advocate when he said that R1 and R5 rifles inflict very serious wounds and they are designed to incapacitate and to kill. Brigadier Calitz said no, when asked if he would go for the leg if a person charged towards him to attack and he wanted to incapacitate that person. “It depends on circumstances as well as the distance and how the attack is observed, how do you see it and from which side; there are factors to be considered. In this case it is a preferred option to shoot at the leg than the chest,” said the Brigadier.

Brigadier agreed with Advocate Ntsebeza when he said that trained police officers should opt for the less fatal shot. Brigadier Calitz said that police officers are given accuracy training in the use of R1 and R5 rifles as part of their shooting exercises.

Advocate Ntsebeza read out a number of post-mortem reports where the victims had sustained gunshot wounds to the face, neck and head. The Adv. continued to say that the fact that some were shot in the back of the head shows they were not charging at the police. The brigadier said if a person is storming at you and he gets shot at and he turns around, then he could be shot in the back of the head. “You are just not conceding the obvious,” said Adv. Ntsebeza.

Brigadier Calitz agreed that most of the victims who died at scene 1 were shot with high velocity rifles such as R1 and R5’s and most were shot in the upper body.

“It is my client’s case that the victims were not attacking the police and we dispute that assertion.” When asked whether the police acted in self-defence on 16/08/2012 the brigadier said he is not certain of what happened because he was not there. “On the basis of your presence or absence, can you say if there was an attack on the police on 16/08/2012 at scene 1?” asked Adv. Ntsebeza. The witness said he can only give evidence about what he saw; and that he cannot give any testimony with regards to the shooting.

03 December 2013

Advocate Chaskalson started the day with cross-examining Brigadier Calitz.
The Brig explained that a dispersal action is an offensive measure and it includes the use of non-lethal measures such as the teargas, stun-grenades and as last resort rubber bullets.

Advocate Ntsebeza, on behalf of the families of the deceased, commenced his cross-examination in the second part of the day.
The witness said he still feels that the strikers that assembled at the koppie were armed with dangerous weapons and they were intent on harming the police. He said this information was reported to him by his colleagues.

“Crime Intelligence reported that the strikers will never surrender their weapons,” said Mr Calitz.
The Brigadier was shown three photos of strikers carrying sticks, knobkerries and a few pangas. Despite this, the witness still disagreed that it is an exaggeration that all strikers had extremely dangerous weapons. “You are deliberately trying to evade the obvious,” said Advocate Ntsebeza.
The Brigadier was shown a photo of traditional weapons taken at the koppie and was asked to describe them. Mr Calitz still disagreed that on the photo shown to him there were more sticks than pangas.

“It is a bit of an overstatement that all the strikers were carrying dangerous weapons. We will argue that it is clear to us. It was an exaggeration of the facts when it was reported to you that all the strikers were armed with extremely dangerous weapons,” said the Adv. Ntsebeza.
The witness said he was unsure of the exact figures but he said he thinks that there were more POP than TRT members at the Marikana operation.

Top