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Muti works, witness tells commission

Gauteng

Pretoria - Muti used by striking Marikana mineworkers in August 2012 was rendered ineffective because one of the strikers killed a hare, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

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ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY A policeman gestures in front of some of the dead miners after they were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 16, 2012. South African police opened fire on Thursday against thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground. A Reuters cameraman said he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) TEMPLATE OUT

The secretive police witness, identified only as “Mr X”, told the inquiry in Pretoria that the traditional healer who performed rituals with the strikers at Lonmin's platinum mine had laid stringent instructions for them to follow.

Mr X's testimony was led by police lawyer Tebogo Mathibedi SC.

“Do you know why the muti was not effective? Do you still use muti and do you believe in the effectiveness thereof?” Mathibedi asked.

“We discovered later that someone killed a hare despite the instruction of the inyanga. We had been instructed not to kill any kind of animal,” said Mr X. “I still use muti and I follow the instructions strictly.”

Mr X was testifying at the inquiry via video link from an undisclosed location.

He claims he was one of a group of striking Marikana miners who underwent rituals, which included two traditional healers burning live sheep, and swallowing their ashes on August 11, 2012.

His sworn statement to the inquiry details how the miners attacked and killed Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani. Some of Fundi's body parts were removed and taken along with Mabelani's ashes for use in muti rituals.

“We killed them at the bus stop. We burnt one in the car and we took pieces of flesh from the other one. That would make our muti strong, so that we go forward when we attack.

“The sangoma said we should bring the human parts,” said Mr X.

Mr X also narrates in the affidavit how he and other protesters attacked and killed two police officers on August 13, 2012. He said they robbed the officers of their cellphones and service firearms.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

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

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

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