Mthethwa, Ramaphosa for Marikana inquiry

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Cyril Ramaphosa 3606

AP

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Pretoria - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former police minister Nathi Mthethwa will testify at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry this month, it was revealed on Thursday.

Head of evidence leaders Geoff Budlender SC, said the arts and culture minister will start testifying on July 14, and be cross-examined.

“Mr Mthethwa will give evidence on the 14th and 15th of July. We hope we will be able to complete in one day but we will wait and see,” Budlender said.

Mthethwa was police minister when 34 people, mostly striking Lonmin mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70

were wounded, and another 250 arrested on August 16, 2012 at the company's platinum mining operations in Marikana near Rustenburg, North West. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and the two security guards, were killed.

The commission is investigating the 44 deaths during the strike-related violence.

Budlender said the provisional date for Ramaphosa's testimony had been moved.

“The date has been changed. It's now at the end of July. The current date is July 29,” he said. It was initially July 16.

The inquiry will not conduct public hearings next week.

In 2012, on the second day of the public hearings, Dali Mpofu SC, for the miners wounded and arrested in the August 16 shooting, said Ramaphosa had condemned the protests in an e-mail. He described them as criminal acts, and suggested “concomitant action”.

“This (e-mail) was on 15 August at 2.58pm, exactly 24 hours before the people were mowed down on that mountain,” Mpofu said at the time.

“He advanced that what was taking place were criminal acts and must be characterised as such. In line with this characterisation (Ramaphosa said) there needs to be concomitant action to address the situation,” said Mpofu.

He said the e-mail was addressed to a certain “Dear Albert of Lonmin”.

On Thursday, the public hearings were adjourned early because police witness, identified only as “Mr X”, asked for a break.

“There is a funeral at my home. As black people, our culture is different from whites. In my culture when there is a death, we mourn the deceased,” he said at the public hearings in Pretoria.

“I am mentally exhausted, I need rest. May I please take a break?”

Commission chairman retired judge Ian Farlam adjourned the hearings until July 14.

Mr X may not be named to protect his identity. He is testifying at the commission in Pretoria via video link from an undisclosed location.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma again extended the inquiry's lifespan. After several extensions, the commission, which began sitting in October 2012, had been scheduled to end on July 31. The new deadline is September 30.

Sapa


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