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Farlam to rule on witness Mr X

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iol news pic Judge Ian Farlam

INLSA

File image - Honourable Judge Ian Gordon Farlam during the public hearing of the Marikana Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Marikana tragedy at which 44 people were killed and scores injured. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Pretoria - Clarity will be given on Tuesday on whether a Marikana police witness, dubbed Mr X, will be allowed to testify in camera, from an undisclosed location.

On Monday, retired judge Ian Farlam, chairman of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, said his decision would be made public on the application brought by the SA Police Service.

“The reasons for my decision will be made available for anyone who wants to see them. I am sure there will also be a hard copy (of the ruling).”

Last month, Sesi Baloyi, for the police, said the protected witness's safety would be in imminent danger if his identity was revealed or published.

“There is a real concern that his testimony before this commission may expose him and his family to harm. As things stand, Mr X is under witness protection.”

Baloyi said the Farlam-led inquiry had the authority to make such special arrangement for a particular witness.

The man identified as Mr X was apparently part of the group of protesting Marikana miners who underwent a ritual which included two sangomas, the burning of live sheep and swallowing of the ashes on August 11, 2012.

In Mr X's sworn statement, seen by Sapa, he details how the belligerent miners attacked and killed Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani.

Hassan's body parts were removed and taken together with Mabelani's ashes for further muti rituals, according to Mr X.

He details how the sangomas cut Fundi's parts into smaller pieces, mixed them with blood and burnt them to ashes.

“We were instructed by the inyangas [traditional healers] to stand in a line and the ashes were put in our mouth using a spoon which we licked and swallowed,” Mr X wrote in his affidavit.

The SAPS proposed that Mr X testify from a remote location.

The application was opposed by Dali Mpofu, SC, for the wounded and arrested miners, Dumisa Ntsebeza, SC, for the families of slain miners, and Anthony Gotz for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

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

The police shot dead 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, wounded over 70, and arrested 250 on August 16, 2012 while 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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