Commission chairman Ian Farlam. File picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - The much-anticipated police witness dubbed Mr X told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Thursday he was involved in killings and destruction of property at Marikana.

Gasps, laughter, and whispers were heard in the Tshwane municipal auditorium where the commission is holding public hearings.

This prompted commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, to warn against it.

“This is a very serious matter, it's no laughing matter. It is not a matter for anyone to make comments about. I am sure people have their feelings but they must keep them to themselves,” he said.

“I do not want to clear the chamber. I hope it will not be necessary for me to repeat this.”

Mr X began his testimony via video link from an undisclosed location before 1pm, led by Tebogo Mathibedi SC, for the police.

Mathibedi asked Mr X whether he was involved in any of the killings and destruction of property at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, between August 10 and 12 in 2012.

He agreed and said he was involved in intimidation at Marikana.

Mathibedi asked: “Sir, you are aware that losing a loved one is not something people take lightly, it has a serious impact on the affected families?”

Mr X agreed. He said he knew the consequences of people being injured and losing their property.

Mathibedi asked Mr X whether he knew that he had to testify truthfully and honestly and to answer all relevant questions. Mr X agreed.

He was taken through details about a meeting held by some 700 rock drill operators in Mooinooi, North West.

The agenda of that “August 5 or 6, 2012” meeting was about wage increases. At that meeting, the operators agreed to demand R12 500 from the mine bosses.

Mr X's face was revealed for the first time at the inquiry on Thursday. He may not be named to protect his identity.

Families of slain mineworkers, mineworkers who survived the shooting, and relatives of killed mine security guards watched intently as the witness appeared on big screens.

Mr X claims he was one of the group of protesting Marikana

miners who underwent a ritual, which included two sangomas burning live sheep and swallowing their ashes on August 11, 2012.

In his sworn statement he details how the mineworkers attacked and killed Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani. Some of Hassan's body parts were removed and taken with Mabelani's ashes for use in muti rituals, according to Mr X.

He details how sangomas cut parts of Fundi into smaller pieces, mixed them with blood, and burnt them to ashes.

“We were instructed by the inyangas 1/8traditional healers 3/8 to stand in a line and the ashes were put in our mouth using a spoon which we licked and swallowed,” Mr X wrote in his affidavit.

“After this, the inyangas told us that they had accomplished their mission in protecting us from police bullets, made us fearless, strong, and invisible to the police.”

Mr X narrates in the affidavit how he and other protesters attacked and killed two police officers on August 13. He said they robbed the officers of their cellphones and service firearms.

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