Questions over Mr X’s identity

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IOL pic may29 ian farlam marikana commission Independent Newspapers Commission chairman Ian Farlam. File picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - Evidence leaders at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry asked controversial police witness, Mr X, about his identity when he resumed his testimony on Thursday.

Head of evidence leaders at the inquiry, Geoff Budlender, SC, said Mr X was not the person he claimed to be in photographs taken at Marikana in August 2012, during a strike by Lonmin mineworkers.

“You have said to this commission you are not the person seen in the bottom photograph. I want to put it to you that it is the same person seen in the upper photograph, including his same clothes and blanket,” Budlender said at the inquiry's hearings in Pretoria.

Mr X said he did not agree.

The photos were taken at Marikana on August 15, 2012. They show a group of the protesters who were leading the negotiations.

Budlender went on: “If this commission finds that it is the same person in both photographs, then it means the person in the upper photograph is also not you. It is the same person in the photos.”

Mr X insisted he was the man in the upper photograph.

Commission chairman Ian Farlam intervened to help Mr X.

“If the commission finds that it is the same person, then what Mr Budlender is saying is true and you are not the person in the photograph.”

Mr X said he was the man in the upper photograph only.

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.

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. - Sapa



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