Amcu aimed to wipe out NUM: witness

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iol news pic Ian Farlam INLSA Honourable Judge Ian Gordon Farlam during the public hearing of the Marikana Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Marikana tragedy. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Pretoria - Strikers decided to kill police during a platinum sector strike in Marikana, North West, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria heard on Monday.

“It was said police would be killed because we could not be shot,” the witness identified only as Mr X said.

He said the decision to kill officers was taken because police wanted strikers to lay down their arms and leave the hill where the they had gathered during their strike at platinum miner Lonmin for a R12,500 monthly salary.

Mr X may not be identified to protect his identity, and is testifying via video link from an undisclosed location.

“We had undergone rituals. We knew we could not be shot,” he said.

He said Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa went to the hill on August 14, 2012 at night.

“He said he was interested in the membership. Let's kill the National Union of Mineworkers so we can get what we are demanding,” said Mr X.

He was referring to a conversation he overheard between a Xolani, and Mathunjwa.

“I overheard Mathunjwa talking,” he said.

Mathunjwa addressed the strikers on August 15 and 16, 2012.

On August 16, Mathunjwa asked the strikers to lay down their arms because there was going to be bloodshed.

“We said we are not going to lay down arms until the employer gives us R12 500,” Mr X said.

Earlier the commission heard that NUM shop steward at Lonmin's Karee shaft, Isaiah Twala, was shot dead near the hill at Marikana

after he was found carrying a cellphone on August 14, which was not allowed.

The commission heard last week that sangomas who prepared muti for the strikers to make them invulnerable had told them they were not allowed to carry cellphones.

He said Twala was accused of using his cellphone to send information to the NUM.

“They took him to the other side of the mountain. His gun was taken... after they had gone I heard a gunshot,” he said.

Police found Twala's body with a bull's skull on his chest.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 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 two security guards, were killed.

Sapa



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