NUM denies blocking Marikana wagesComment on this story
Rustenburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) did not block Marikana miners' wages, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Friday.
“NUM would never be averse to where workers are given an offer. It may object to the forum used, but [would] not... [oppose] this offer... “ union president Senzeni Zokwana said.
Dali Mpofu, for those arrested and injured during the violent strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine last year, said striking mineworkers believed NUM told Lonmin mine not to negotiate with them.
He said this was the reason why strikers went to NUM officers on August 11, and not, as Zokwana believed, to burn it down.
NUM shop stewards allegedly fired at a large group of strikers who marched towards the union's offices at the mine. Two strikers were injured and had to be hospitalised.
Mpofu admitted the group of strikers included NUM, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), and non-unionised members.
He put it to Zokwana that it was normal for members to go to the nearest union office to inquire, if they believed the NUM was standing in the way of wage increases.
“When you march it is when you don't reach satisfactory answers,” Zokwana said.
He said if this was the case, NUM members would have sent a smaller, unarmed delegation to get information.
“[It would have been reasonable] provided it was NUM members marching to the NUM office, minus the weapons.”
The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during a strike at the North West mine.
Thirty-four strikers were shot dead and 78 wounded when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of protesters gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on August 16 last year.
In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.