3 minute read
15 Jul 2014
5:47 pm

Miners want Mr X at Marikana hearings

Miners injured and arrested during the 2012 unrest in Marikana want enigmatic police witness, identified only as Mr X, to testify in person, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

FILE PICTURE: Retired Judge Ian Farlam, chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry of Lonmin's Marikana mine violence, is seen during a break in proceedings in Pretoria on Monday, 14 July 2014. More than 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested at the company's platinum mining operations in Marikana, near Rustenburg. The commission is investigating the 44 deaths during the strike-related violence. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

“I have received instructions to bring an oral application on Thursday morning for Mr X to be brought to testify in the auditorium,” said Dali Mpofu, SC, for the mineworkers.

“They (miners) feel that the time has come for him to come here.”

Mr X may not be named to protect his identity. He previously testified at the commission in Pretoria via video link from an undisclosed location.

The witness is scheduled to resume testifying on Thursday.

Mr X claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin mineworkers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who underwent traditional rituals, and participated in the killing of Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani on August 12, 2012.

He has detailed in an affidavit how flesh was cut from Fundi’s face, how sangomas cut this into smaller pieces, mixed it with blood, and burnt it to ashes for the miners to eat. This was apparently to prepare them for a confrontation with police.

Former police minister Nathi Mthethwa concluded his testimony at the commission on Tuesday evening. He was asked whether he had referred to the striking miners as anarchists.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, for the families of the Lonmin miners killed, played a video recorded at Marikana on August 17, a day after 34 protesting miners were killed in a confrontation with police.

In the video, Mthethwa addresses police officers.

He is heard saying: “Continue doing your job, in a professional manner. There will be criticism, but as your leadership we are confident that you did what you did in trying to ensure the rule of law reigns in South Africa.

“We must ensure that at all times we do everything in our power so that anarchists do not think South Africa is their stage. I want to thank you on behalf of our government.”

Ntsebeza said Mthethwa’s statements described the protesters, including the dead strikers, as anarchists.

Mthethwa said not all the protesters were criminals.

Ntsebeza said Mthethwa’s remarks implied the police were justified in shooting the protesters because they were running amok.

Later, Ntsebeza said families of Lonmin mineworkers killed want Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mthethwa to explain how their relatives were slain.

“They want to hear from you that nothing at all in a democracy should ever justify the police killing its own people. The police are well trained in other mechanisms that can contain whatever is being done by protesters, short of killing them in that fashion.”

Mthethwa replied: “I said such a thing should not happen in a democracy.”

He was police minister when 34 people, mostly striking Lonmin mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police in Marikana on August 16, 2012. More than 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested at the company’s platinum mining operations.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed. The commission is investigating the 44 deaths.

Ramaphosa, a Lonmin shareholder, is set to testify at the inquiry at the end of the month.

Mpofu said Ramaphosa used Mthethwa to exert political pressure on the police to act against the protesting Marikana miners.

“You were the intermediary, the conduit, through which the pressure Mr Ramaphosa refers to was conveyed to the senior management of police and ultimately to the officers who killed people,” said Mpofu.

The public hearings resume on Thursday.