Cops to call anthropologist to testify about Marikana muti claims

2012-11-22 13:46

Police will call an anthropologist to testify about the muti rituals that are believed to have been carried out by striking Lonmin workers prior to the fatal shooting of 34 people in Marikana on August 16.

This emerged during cross-examination of Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka by Advocate Ishmael Semenya, who is representing the SA Police Service in the inquiry.

Last week, Seoka told the commission that the suggestion the striking mine workers had undergone muti rituals believing that it would make them invincible and brave, were nonsense and an insult to black people.

This was after police had flighted videos of the striking workers gathered on a koppie, stripped naked, being sprinkled with a liquid believed to be intelezi.

He further told the commission that he knew of football teams who used muti, lost matches, and still resorted to the same ritual practices in future.

This morning, Semenya put it to Seoka that in the same breath, he had seen penalty takers in a football match look to the sky, make the sign of a cross before taking a penalty and still miss the kick.

Seoka countered that he had also seen players doing the same when they’ve achieved something great.

Semenya said the following weekend, the players would still make a cross sign and take a penalty despite having missed the previous week and that this did not make them stupid but was a matter of faith.

“Not really, I think there’s a difference between faith and belief,” Seoka responded.

“For those who look up into the sky it is faith and those who use intelezi it is belief?” asked Semenya.

“Yes!” Seoka replied.

Semenya said an expert anthropologist would testify about the belief in muti. He also asked Seoka to retract a statement he had made that he had never trusted police in his 40 years in the clergy.

But Seoka refused, saying it was his opinion.

The hearing continues.

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