Pretoria - Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa caused the confrontation between police officers and striking Marikana miners which left 34 people dead, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.
Police witness Mr X was questioned in Pretoria by the commission's head of evidence leaders, Geoff Budlender, SC, about allegations he made against the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union's (Amcu) president.
“We were being used by Mathunjwa to do fraud. I really want to apologise about what happened at Marikana. We forced people to join Amcu,” Mr X said.
Mr X may not be named to protect his identity. He is under police witness protection and is testifying at the commission via video link from an undisclosed location.
“Workers joined out of fear, they realised there were killings going on,” he said.
“People were being killed at Marikana. Life is more important than money.”
Budlender asked: “Who defrauded who? Mr X, you seem to be very angry with Mr Mathunjwa. You previously fabricated incidents about him coming to the (Marikana) koppie (on August 14, 2012).
“Why are you so angry with Mr Mathunjwa? Do you blame Mr Mathunjwa for what happened at Marikana?”
Mr X responded: “It is him. I am not making a mistake.”
Commission chairman Ian Farlam intervened to help Mr X.
“I don't understand why you say Mr Mathunjwa is responsible for the death of people on the 16th August 2012. Evidence we have had is that on that fatal afternoon he pleaded with people at the koppie to lay down their arms and leave,” Farlam said.
“He went down on bended knees. He told the people that police would kill them. According to evidence, he went out of his way. You are saying he is responsible (for the deaths). Can you help me understand your evidence?”
Mr X said Mathunjwa intervened because he wanted to boost his union's membership.
“He came to us at the koppie (on August 16, 2012). My question is what was he doing there? All that happened at Marikana is because of Mathunjwa,” said Mr X.
“He was seeking membership. If you are proposing love to a lady, you don't talk about other men, you only talk about yourself. He wanted to take NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) members.”
During the strike by platinum miners in the North West in 2012, Amcu replaced NUM as the dominant union at Lonmin's mines.
Mr X has previously been questioned over his assertion that Mathunjwa addressed strikers at Marikana on August 14, 2012.
Budlender said contrary to Mr X's evidence, phone records indicated the Amcu leader was not at Marikana that day.
“Phone records show where he [Mathunjwa] was when he was receiving and making calls. He made and received no calls in Marikana or North West. To the contrary he was in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Witbank. Can you explain that?”
Mr X responded: “I cannot explain it, except to say maybe Mr Mathunjwa was using someone's phone. Mr Mathunjwa arrived there. Pretoria and Johannesburg are not far from Marikana.”
Budlender told the commission it had been established that on August 15, 2012 Mathunjwa's phone was near the SABC. He was later interviewed by the national broadcaster.
The witness claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin workers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who underwent traditional rituals, and participated in the killing of two Lonmin security guards on August 12.
A total of 34 people, mostly striking Lonmin mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police in Marikana on August 16.
In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed. The commission is investigating the 44 deaths.