Lonmin guards fled miners

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MarikanaCrosses123456 Reuters Crosses are placed at a hill known as the "Hill of Horror", during the one-year anniversary commemorations to mark the killings of 34 miners shot dead by police outside the Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg. Photo: Reuters

Pretoria - Lonmin security guards almost crashed their cars into each other while fleeing from protesting miners on August 12, 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

“The protesters were approaching us in a crouching position. Suddenly they stood and ran towards us,” Julius Motlogelwa, of Lonmin's tactical response unit, said at the inquiry in Pretoria.

“I ran into a car and closed the doors. As I drove off, another vehicle almost collided into my car. I drove very fast, towards an intersection.”

The leaders of the guards' team, Frans Mabelani and Hassan Fundi, did not get away. Their car was mobbed and torched. They were killed.

“Some strikers were throwing stones at our cars as we fled. When we stopped I phoned our control room and informed them that we were short. I told the control room to try contact Mabelani and Fundi,” Motlogelwa told the commission.

He said police arrived where the guards had reassembled.

“We told them what was happening, and they could also see it. They told us they cannot approach the protesters because they had a small vehicle,” said Motlogelwa.

“We then saw a huge smoke. It was coming from where we had left a VW Polo. We saw a second smoke coming from the car where Mabelani and Fundi were in, a Nissan Livina. It was on fire,” he said.

Motlogelwa said when the strikers dispersed, he and other guards went with police officers to the burning cars.

That week, eight other people - two policemen and mineworkers - were killed in unrest related to a strike.

On August 16, 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, more than 70 were wounded, and another 250 were arrested. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

The commission, which is led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is probing these deaths, and the 10 deaths in the week of August 12.

Sapa



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