Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
North West - Relatives of Lonmin miners were visibly emotional as the Farlam Commission of Inquiry held an in loco inspection at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on Wednesday morning.
They held onto each other, some consoling those crying, as the commission visited the mine's K3 shaft and retraced the steps of miners and police officers on August 13 last year.
North West deputy police commissioner General William Mpembe explained what happened on the day when he tried to address the striking miners.
“I was communicating with them, with the policemen standing on the opposite side,” he said.
The policemen, present at the inspection, stood opposite the railway line, the way they had on that day.
The commission was visiting the place where Mpembe addressed the striking miners on August 13, and where two police officers and three miners were killed.
He told the commission he was trying to prevent the striking group from heading to the nearby informal settlement.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, for the injured and arrested miners, introduced the commission to two miners who were part of that group.
Simphiwe Booi and Xolani Nzuza joined Mpembe in pointing out key areas and routes they planned to testifying on before the inquiry.
Police officers walked in front, behind and on the sides of the large group as they moved across the veld. Family members of the miners attentively listened to what was said.
The commission's chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, led the inspection and asked questions for clarity while key positions were pointed out and filmed for the commission.
National police commissioner Riah Phiyega, who testified on Tuesday, would not be able to continue giving evidence on Wednesday as she had to be in Parliament, the commission heard.
Farlam decided that her cross-examination would resume on Monday. The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin Platinum's mine in Marikana.
On August 16, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were 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