Marikana Commission big four gear up to do battle this week

When the Marikana Commission of Inquiry meets again on Wednesday, four men will take centre stage as the police face down allegations of tampering with crucial evidence from the day of the Marikana massacre.

Advocate Geoff Budlender is the senior evidence leader, who this week made startling allegations about the police.

He has practised law for about 30 years.

Budlender claims that:

» There are documents that the police previously said didn’t exist;

» The evidence leaders have obtained documents that should have been previously disclosed by the police, but were not; and

» They have also obtained documents that give the impression of being in chronological order, but appear to have been constructed after the events to which they refer.

Budlender will, if he and his team prove their allegations before the commission, have the power to ask Judge Ian Farlam to consider criminal charges against the police.

Frikkie Pretorius, from Van Velden & Duffey Attorneys, represents the police. It will be his job to answer the damning allegations.

“The SA Police Service (SAPS) legal team would have preferred to have been given an opportunity to provide the required explanations prior to the evidence leaders passing judgement on the matter,” the police said in a statement.

“We undertake to give any and all answers to the concerns they have raised.”

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott is the man whose testimony first brought the police’s record of events into question.

Scott testified that he compiled evidence for the police, but denied tampering with the evidence.

He said he didn’t know of anyone who had done so, and offered the evidence leaders a chance to go through the hard drives.

He was part of the joint operations centre strategy meetings where the police hatched their plans to disperse striking miners on the koppie.

He was still on the stand when the commission was postponed this week, and it is unclear whether evidence leaders will continue to question him or call another witness on Wednesday Brigadier Adriaan Calitz is due to be called once Scott is done.

Calitz’s name appeared this week for a second time during the commission.

In May, parts of his statement were brought before the commission. They read: “The crowd that assembled on the koppie was unruly and very aggressive.

They were all armed with extremely dangerous home-made and bought weapons, which they clearly intended to (use to) injure and kill SAPS members.

“They acted as one group and all of them associated themselves with the action of each other. All of them had the same intention or goal.”

He is also the officer to whom an “engage, engage” instruction in the moments before the shooting has been attributed.

This week, a video of him instructing police officers a day after the shooting emerged at the commission. He is heard saying that the plan was executed 110%.



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