Marikana families criticise Lonmin

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iol news pic pn Marikana oped cross REUTERS File photo: Crosses at a koppie the Marikana massacre.

Pretoria - Families of miners who died at Marikana in August 2012 criticised Lonmin at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Thursday for its role in the wage dispute and violence.

“I have a complaint against Lonmin. It called the police who killed our husbands. Our children will grow up not knowing their fathers,” said Nolundi Thukuza, whose husband Mphangeli was killed in the violence.

“Lonmin doesn't care to know how we live and what we eat. We have become widows at such an early age. We do not know what to do.”

Mphangeli's family said he joined Lonmin in 2000 and had lost his toes during an accident at the mine. He is survived by two wives and seven children.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lomin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and over 250 arrested on August 16, 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and the two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

On Thursday, the commission heard presentations by lawyers and families of the 44 deceased.

Phumeza Mabiya, 20, whose husband Mafolisi Mabiya also died at Marikana, said: “What happened to us in 2012 is very hurting. I became a widow at 18 years. I was one month pregnant at the time. That child will ask me about its father,” said Phumeza.

“I blame Lonmin and the police. At my age, I have to look after Mafolisi's family because his mother doesn't receive a social grant.”

Zameka Nungu laid the death of her husband Jackson Lehupa and the other miners at Lonmin's door.

“If Lonmin could not afford to pay them, they should have fired them. We have stayed with our husbands back home. Those police officers who shot our husbands are living well with their wives,” she said.

“We cry at night, not knowing who will comfort us. Our children keep asking when their fathers will be arriving home. I used to trust the police but now when I see a police officer, I see an enemy.”

Hester Mabebe, whose brother Eric Thapelo Mabebe was killed on August 12, 2012, said her family was under severe financial and emotional stress.

“He was killed by his fellow workers. They chopped him repeatedly. Now we want those who killed him to go to jail. It has been two years and we are waiting,” she said.

“I am scared of Eric's co-workers. I was scared of them even when they came to his funeral. We want the law to take its course. Eric was only going to work that day because he wanted money. This was his only job.”

The inquiry has previously heard that Mabebe was killed by fellow miners at Lonmin's K4 shaft because he was going to work, and not striking.

A post mortem revealed that Mabebe had been stabbed multiple times and that his skull had been fractured.

Controversial police witness, identified only as Mr X, has previously told the inquiry that he participated in Maberbe's murder. - Sapa

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