JOHANNESBURG – Footage shown on British television has reignited allegations that South African police did not act wholly in self-defense when they fatally shot 34 miners during an illegal pay strike last year.
Channel 4 News this week broadcast cellphone footage of police officers trailing fleeing miners through scrubland and shooting at least one of them dead.
The footage, which was seen in November by members of a commission investigating the deaths, appears to corroborate other documentary evidence and miners’ accounts from the incident.
In the video, apparently taken by police, one officer is heard calling on his colleagues to exercise restraint.
“The guy is there running. Wait. Don’t shoot him, don’t shoot him,” the officer is heard saying.
But a moment later gunshots ring out and then the camera pans over a dead body.
Another officer is heard saying: “That motherf—-er. I shot him at least 10 times.”
Channel 4 News said the body was found with 12 gunshot wounds.
Police have claimed they acted in self-defense when they opened fire on the miners at the Lonmin mine in Marikana.