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Chaskalson unravels tangled web of SAPS deception




Whatever the Marikana commission is paying evidence leader advocate Matthew Chaskalson SC, it is not enough. And the Police must be ruing paying the salary of Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott who, under Chaskalson’s cross examination, has painted police witnesses into a corner.

The emergence of an attempted cover-up of evidence in the Marikana commission of enquiry was bust wide open by evidence leader advocate Matthew Chaskalson SC who has been leading the cross-examination of Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott.

Scott helped to draft the police’s dispersal and disarming plan to deal with striking miners at Lonmin’s Marikana mine where, on 16 August last year, police shot and killed 34 miners, which the commission is investigating.

PIC RIGHT: Marikana, 16 August 2012, where police shot and killed 34 miners

According to the MAIL&GUARDIAN, Chaskalson managed to paint key police witnesses into a corner after he got Scott to make several startling revelations – including the existence of three hard drives full of information that had been withheld from the commission.

Once exposed, the hard drives revealed a serious concealment of documentation, a video and the manipulation of documents by the police, forcing the commission to adjourn for several days while it studied the new evidence.

Last week it seemed that Scott, who has been giving evidence at the Marikana commission since early September, was breaking ranks with the police to avoid being made the fall guy.

NEWS24, quoting SAPA, last week reported that Chaskalson had sought answers on the communication difficulties between senior officers at the security joint operations committee (JOC) and officers deployed on the ground.

“We know from the video evidence that the first deaths” />The meeting between Lonmin’s executive vice-president of human capital and external affairs, Barnard Mokwena, and provincial police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo took place the day before the massacre.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott

In the transcript Mbombo reveals that both Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and police commissioner Riah Phiyega told her (Mbombo) of pressure being put on them by Lonmin shareholder Cyril Ramaphosa to curtail the strike forcefully to prevent “political opportunism” from the likes of former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and Themba Godi of the African People’s Convention.

Police may have been under pressure from up high

Gareth Newham, head of justice, governance and crime at the Institute for Security Studies, said last week: “He” />

But other observers are not as convinced of Scott’s nobility. Filmmaker Rehad Desai, who is producing a film about the massacre, believes it is the dogged pursuit of the evidence leaders that has shifted the Marikana narrative.

PICTURED AT LEFT: Marikana commission evidence leader advocate Matthew Chaskalson SC, cracked the case of the police’s four different account of events at Marikana

“It was through Matthew Chaskalson’s questioning that Scott revealed his hard drive. Now, he’s on the back foot. He gave a presentation of the police plan at the beginning of the commission … [which] we now know was put together at Potch. [Earlier] he also handed over the laptop, saying he had nothing to hide.”

Chaskalson not so disingenuous

CITY PRESS quoted Chaskalson as saying that at least four different versions of what happened in the days leading up to the shooting – from the police’s own officers – had been presented to the commission.

But, said Chaskalson, cracks in the police’s planning were revealed on the stand at the commission for the first time – and Lieutenant Colonel Scott, one of the police’s own, was doing the damage.

Chaskalson commended Scott for being the first police witness to play open cards with the commission.

“You, of all the people in the SAPS, have given us access to contemporaneous documents that we hadn’t received through the official SAPS channels,” said Chaskalson, downplaying his own efforts in getting Scott to admit to, and hand over, the three hard drives that contained previously unseen documentation and video footage.

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