Lonmin guards ‘did not stop attack on NUM’ at Marikana - Dali Mpofu

2014-07-28 17:39

Advocate Dali Mpofu has blamed Lonmin security guards for failing to prevent an attack on the offices of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on August 11 2012 by striking miners.

Mpofu was representing the wounded and arrested miners at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria today.

“What we can legitimately blame security for, is that you did nothing to stop the attack by the NUM people on the crowd,” said Mpofu.

In reply, Julius Motlogelwa, of Lonmin’s tactical response unit, said the scuffle between about 30 NUM officials and thousands of protesting miners happened “happened quickly”.

NUM officials allegedly fired several shots at the strikers who had approached the union offices on August 11 2012. Several people were injured in the brawl.

“When we realised that people were injured, the police were not there. We deliberated on how the injured can get medical assistance,” said Motlogelwa.

Mpofu suggested that the mine security should have reported the individual attackers to police after saving the injured.

“You knew that Mr Setelele was there. The truth is that until today, even ... those people [who] have been identified ... haven’t been arrested,” said Mpofu.

“I am putting part of the blame on you, though most blame must go to the police. Mr Setelele went to the grave without having been charged for this.”

NUM branch chairperson William Setelele, 46, was shot eight times and killed in Nkaneng informal settlement in October last year.

Frans Mabelani and another senior security guard, Hassan Fundi were killed during a confrontation with the strikers on August 12 2012. They were trying to prevent protesters from getting to the NUM offices again.

The security unit reportedly had information that the protesters wanted to torch the NUM office. After the deaths of Fundi and Mabelani, the crowd proceeded to the NUM offices but did not set them alight.

Mpofu said that the two security guards had died “in vain”.

“In terms of preventing the people from going to NUM offices, those people [the guards] really died for nothing because the protesters did go to the NUM office but didn’t burn it,” said Mpofu.

“Those deaths were senseless because on the 11th [of August 2012] you decided not to prevent the crowd from going to the NUM offices. Instead you preferred that the offices be vacated. The crowd marching on the 11th wasn’t armed but the crowd on 12 August was armed.”

Motlogelwa said a security leader had decided on a different approach on August 12, unlike the one used on the previous day.

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