Marikana families demand answers

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

Johannesburg -

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry will on Thursday continue to hear the presentations by lawyers and families of the 44 people who died during the August 2012 Marikana unrest.

On Wednesday, the families demanded answers over the deaths of their loved ones.

“We want to know, what steps our government took in this strike? We are here every day for this problem of the killing of our relatives by the police. We want the truth,” said Lanford Gqotjelwa, whose cousin Thembelakhe Mati was killed on August 13.

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

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mine workers, were shot dead in a clash with police. More than 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.

Betty Gadlela, from Swaziland, said her husband Stelega was “a man of peace”.

Another widow, Nandipa Gunuza, said her husband Bonginkosi Yona died when their son was only seven days old.

Outbursts of weeping echoed in the Tshwane council chambers, where the commission holds the public hearings.

Some women collapsed and the inquiry was briefly adjourned. Three women were rushed to a nearby hospital. - Sapa


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