Marikana miner sticks to story

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Sapa

Chairperson Ian Farlam is overseeing the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into events surrounding the shooting of 34 Lonmin mineworkers in Marikana. File photo: Sapa

Rustenburg - A miner from Lonmin Platinum's Karee mine stuck to his story on Friday about events that led to him being shot in August last year.

Vusimuzi Mandla Mabuyakhulu told the Farlam commission of inquiry that 3000 Amcu members had no violent intentions when they went to the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers on August 11.

“There was only one reason when we left there 1/8the stadium 3/8,” Mabuyakhulu said, when asked why the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union members went to NUM's offices.

This was to discuss why NUM told Lonmin management to not speak to striking workers.

Rock drill operators from the mine went on strike in August, demanding a monthly wage of R12,500.

Mabuyakhulu told the commission on Thursday that Amcu was not a recognised union, so the workers had to negotiate for themselves.

“I was only carrying a stick. There were no weapons,” Mabuyakhulu said through an interpreter. “I never saw any people being upset or getting excited.”

Azhar Bham, senior advocate for Lonmin, asked Mabuyakhulu about the events which led to the strike.

Mabuyakhulu told the commission that rock drill operators were told by mine management about the NUM's instruction on August 10.

However, Bham said no rock drill operator had spoken to mine management that day.

“I cannot comment on that,” Mabuyakhulu said, sitting with his arms folded in front of him on a desk.

Earlier, Karel Tip, for the NUM, tried to establish the intentions of the striking miners to go to the NUM's offices.

“Was it not true that you decided to go to the NUM office because of the report that NUM members were shooting Amcu members?” Tip asked.

Mabuyakhulu responded: “No.”

The commission earlier heard that Mabuyakhulu was shot, assaulted, and left to die by men associated with the NUM on August 11.

The conduct of miners believed to be affiliated to NUM took centre stage on Thursday when Mabuyakhulu told the commission he feared for his life and was scared to go home, after being told that NUM members were looking for him.

The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin Platinum's mine in Marikana last year.

On August 16, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

The commission was adjourned to 10am on Wednesday, February 20.

Dali Mpofu, representing the injured and arrested miners, indicated that he intended calling a miner who was shot and wounded on August 16. - Sapa


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