Johannesburg - Victims of the Marikana massacre have threatened to pull out of the Farlam Commission if ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is exempted from testifying about his alleged role in the massacre.
Widows and injured miners expressed concern on Wednesday about President Jacob Zuma’s decision to change the terms of reference of the inquiry.
On April 30, Zuma passed a proclamation which stated that it was not compulsory for mine houses and his cabinet ministers to testify.
This has outraged the victims, who claimed that Zuma’s proclamation was aimed at protecting Ramaphosa, saying he was aware that “Ramaphosa has blood on his hands” over the killing of 34 miners on August 16, 2012. They made a similar claim against Lonmin.
Ramaphosa was a shareholder in Lonmin at the time of the massacre.
The victims said Zuma’s decision to delete clause 1.5, which would have forced Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and Ramaphosa to testify, threatened the fairness of the inquiry’s outcome.
They also challenged Zuma’s decision to order the commission to conclude its investigation by July 31.
Trevor Ngwane, of the Marikana Support Campaign, which represents victims and widows, was adamant the amendment would prevent Ramaphosa and others from testifying or being properly cross-examined for their alleged role in the murders.
“If there is not enough time to fully question and receive evidence from those who held the R5 rifles, pulled the trigger and perhaps more importantly those in government, then and now, who in all likelihood promoted and sanctioned the decision to break the strike with deadly force, this commission will be little more than a farce, said Ngwane.
“If cabinet ministers Nathi Mthethwa, Susan Shabangu and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa fail to appear, we will be left with yet another official inquiry that has failed to uncover the truth,” added Ngwane.
He said some of the victims, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa and SA Council of Churches boss Joe Seoka were cross-examined for prolonged periods and asked, “Why not Ramaphosa and government ministers?”
“We are highly disturbed by contradictory reports that have been issued with regard to whether Minister Mthethwa will be prepared to attend the commission. We are further disgruntled that Graham Sinclair, head of security at Lonmin, has, after the request made six months ago, still failed to provide a sworn statement to the commission.”
Ngwane said they were demanding guarantees that all of those implicated in the massacre appear.
The Marikana Solidarity Campaign has given Zuma until Monday to withdraw his April 30 proclamation.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj had not replied to questions sent to him by the time of publication.