Pretoria - The witness known as Mr X was called by the SA Police Service (SAPS) to testify as a public relations exercise, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.
“I suggested that the bulk of my cross-examination is about showing that you have been called by the police purely as a public relations (exercise) which has turned sour and backfired,” said Dali Mpofu, SC, for the injured and arrested Marikana miners.
He was cross-examining Mr X at the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria.
“You don't have much to contribute to the core business of this commission.”
Mr X, who cannot be identified to protect his identity, is testifying via a video link from an undisclosed location. He says he fears for his life and is under police witness protection.
The inquiry, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's mining operations at Marikana, North West, in August 2012.
Thirty-four people, mostly striking Lonmin 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 two policemen and two security guards, were killed.
Mpofu said police were implicated in the murders of 37 of the 44 people. Mr X said Mpofu was wrongly accusing the police.
“I don't agree with you. I have told you, the police are innocent for the deaths of the people. You should not take the syllabus backwards,” Mr X said.
Mpofu said Mr X was brought to testify despite police knowing he had nothing to contribute.
“I am going to argue that you were called here knowing that you cannot contribute to assist SAPS in what it is blamed for. The public relations exercise has turned into a public relations disaster.
“Even in respect of the deaths you participated in, the quality of your evidence is only a source of trauma for the families. Your evidence is riddled with contradictions,” said Mpofu.
Mr X claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin mineworkers at Marikana who participated in the killing of Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani on August 12, 2012.
He has detailed in an affidavit how flesh was cut from Fundi's face, how sangomas cut this into smaller pieces, mixed it with blood, and burnt it to ashes for the miners to lick. This was apparently to prepare them for a confrontation with police.
Mr X claims he was among protesters who shot and hacked two policemen to death on August 13, 2012.
Warrant Officers Tsietsi Monene and Sello Leepaku were repeatedly stabbed during the confrontation at Marikana.
The public hearings were adjourned on Tuesday morning because Mr X said he had an upset stomach. - Sapa