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North West - National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members shot at protesters, a worker told the judicial inquiry into the shooting at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on Tuesday.
The mineworker, who spoke through a translator, told commission chair Ian Farlam miners were marching on the road behind the local police satellite office to NUM's office on August 11.
En route NUM members confronted and shot at them, he said. Two workers were killed. The scene where the miners were shot formed part of an in loco inspection by the commission.
From there the commission went to the Andrew Saffy memorial hospital where miners wounded in the shooting on August 16 were taken. On that day 34 miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire while trying to disperse protesters near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West.
Hospital executive director, Dr Mel Mentz, took the commission on a tour of the wards. He said 56 injured patients were admitted to the hospital on the night of the shooting. Two workers were declared dead on arrival and one died at the hospital.
“There were so many casualties we had to activate our disaster plan,” he told Farlam.
“We had to make another room into a hospital room.”
Mentz said the hospital's primary casualty ward only had place for six. Another ward was used as a secondary casualty ward.
The injured miners were stabilised at the hospital before being taken to other hospitals in Rustenburg, Johannesburg, and Pretoria.
Some patients were also taken to another mining hospital, said Mentz. Three patients were carried by helicopter, others by ambulance.
Commission members, advocates, observers and media braved the mid-afternoon sun as they walked from scene to scene.
The commission would inspect Lonmin's mining hostels next. - Sapa