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Marikana mystery man’s credibility questioned

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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 - Phone records indicate that police witness “Mr X”, is falsifying evidence, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

The head of the inquiry's evidence leaders, Geoff Budlender, said records indicated that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa was not at Marikana on August 14, 2012, as Mr X had claimed.

“I put it to you that what you are saying is proved by phone records to be false,” Budlender said.

Tebogo Mathibedi, for the police, intervened, stating the inquiry had not established that the phone in question was not the only one Mathunjwa had.

Mr X, who is testifying for the police, may not be named to protect his identity. He is testifying via video link from an undisclosed location.

“If the commission finds that you have not told the truth about the phone calls and Mr Mathunjwa, why should it believe the other disputed things?” Budlender said.

Inquiry chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam warned Mr X: “It may be that many of the things that you say are true, but if it appears that some of the things are not true, the commission will have a problem.

“If some of what you say is not true, how can we tell the difference? That is the problem Mr Budlender is putting to you.”

Mr X said there was 'no better truth” than his.

“I am saying the truth, I am prepared to go to the grave with this truth and I am not changing.”

Budlender said if Mr X lied about Mathunjwa's visit on the night of August 14, 2012, then he invented that the Amcu leader told protesters to kill the then National Union of Mineworkers leader Senzeni Zokwana.

Mr X previously said about the contentious August 14, 2012 visit that Mathunjwa had promised protesters he would bring Zokwana to the koppie in Marikana, North West, where striking Lonmin workers gathered during their strike for a R12,500 monthly wage.

“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 maintained Mathunjwa spoke to a workers' leader, Xolani Nzuza, on August 14, 2012, asking for permission to address the miners.

Budlender said an analysis revealed there were no calls between Mathunjwa and Nzuza's phones. Furthermore, Nzuza only received calls from phones in Marikana.

It was also established, through tracing his phone movements, that Mathunjwa was in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Witbank.

Mr X responded: “Mathunjwa may have been using someone's phone. I cannot explain it, he came to the mountain. The only person who had a phone was Nzuza.”

The “mountain” is the koppie in Marikana where strikers gathered.

He claims he was one in the group of protesting Marikana miners who underwent traditional rituals and was part of the killing of two Lonmin security guards in August 2012.

The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's mining operations at Marikana.

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 the two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

Sapa


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