When the woman arrived in Marikana, North West, dressed in a red NUM T-shirt, miners affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) shouted obscenities at her.
“Voe****. F*** you,” they shouted. She took cover among police officers. The Congress of SA Trade Unions identified her as Helen Diatile. The NUM is a Cosatu affiliate.
“Cosatu strongly condemns this action which could have escalated into an even more serious incident, and appeals for tolerance among workers,” Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.
“The only people who can benefit from violent confrontations between workers are their employers, who will always seek to exploit such divisions,” he said.
The NUM security team and police escorted Diatile and NUM spokesman Luphert Chilwane, who was accompanying her, out of Marikana.
“They both opened a case of intimidation at the Marikana police station,” Craven said.
The commission’s inspection was attended by lawyers, Lonmin mineworkers, the widows of slain miners, and journalists.
Commission chairman, retired Judge Ian Farlam, called the miners to order.
“I am in charge of this inquiry and this is a public place. Everyone is free to wear what they want. You have your Amcu T-shirts on,” he said.
Farlam said he had been informed that a police witness, scheduled to point out some spots, felt intimidated afterwards.
“It will be remembered that when it was drawn to my attention that the NUM representative was being told to leave, I spoke out very strongly about it.
“Despite what I said, the intimidation continued. Thank you very much, the proceedings are terminated,” said Farlam.
Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police during a Lonmin workers’ strike in Marikana on August 16, 2012.
More than 70 people were wounded and more than 200 were arrested. The police claimed they were trying to disarm and disperse them.
In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the unrest.
The commission is investigating the 44 deaths.