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NUM questions Amcu strikers’ intentions

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IOL news nov 29  pn MarikanaCommission940

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Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members at the public hearing of the Farlam Commission of Enquiry investigating the Marikana tragedy at which 44 people were killed and scores injured. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Rustenburg - The conduct of striking miners linked to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) was questioned at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Friday.

“Was it not true that you decided to go to the NUM office because of the report that NUM members were shooting Amcu members?” Karel Tip, for NUM, asked Lonmin miner Vusimuzi Mandla Mabuyakhulu.

“No,” Mabuyakhulu said, speaking through an interpreter.

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

He is employed at Lonmin Platinum's Karee mine, where rock drill operators went on strike in demand of a R12,500 a month wage last year.

Questioning him on Friday, Tip referred to an incident on August 11 when rock drill operators went to the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) for clarity on issues with Lonmin.

Earlier that day, a group of about 3000 striking workers had gathered at the Wonderkop Stadium.

They were told people had been shot by NUM members, and that miners had been accosted at a bus station and forced at gunpoint to return to work.

Commission chairman judge Ian Farlam asked: “Was it also a reason for going to the office to ask the NUM people about the shooting? Was it an additional reason?”

Mabuyakhulu said the only reason for going to NUM was to ask why they had instructed Lonmin not to speak to striking workers.

Tip further questioned Mabuyakhulu on the reaction of miners when they heard reports that NUM members were shooting Amcu members.

“What was the reaction from the 3000 people at that meeting to this information?” Tip asked.

Mabuyakhulu replied: “No decision was taken as a result of this report. People were talking and many people said this was not right.”

“Were the people calm?” Tip continued.

Sitting with his hands folded in front of him on the desk, Mabuyakhulu responded: “Yes, that is what happened.”

The commission heard that Mabuyakhulu did not know the person who gave the group the report and would not be able to point him out either.

Tip also wanted clarity on a statement given by Mabuyakhulu to police about the day he was shot in the back and the events leading up to it.

Mabuyakhulu said he had told the policeman many different things, but he had not taken everything down.

He said while he gave the statement he was not in his right mind and language was also a problem.

On Thursday, the commission heard that some paragraphs in the statement were not factually correct.

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 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 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. - Sapa


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