Marikana commission accused of being pro-NUM after T-shirt spat

2014-09-09 12:16

Lonmin mine workers have accused the Farlam Commission of Inquiry of being affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers.

“While we were leaving, we were labelled as NUM people. It was also said we were there to waste time.

This was said in isiXhosa by the miners. I know who they are but won’t divulge their names,” commissioner Bantubonke Tokota said at the inquiry in Pretoria today.

Inquiry chairperson Ian Farlam abruptly cancelled an inspection in loco at Marikana, near Rustenburg, yesterday because of security concerns.

“I have no option but to terminate the proceedings now,” he said.

“I am very reluctant to do what I am doing. Whether there will be another inspection in loco will be discussed with the legal representatives of the parties, evidence leaders and the commissioners.”

He was addressing a large crowd of lawyers, Lonmin mine workers, widows of slain miners, journalists and police officers.

Farlam’s decision followed an altercation during which miners shouted obscenities at a woman, Helen Diatile, who was wearing a red NUM T-shirt when she joined the inspection.

“Voetsek [bugger off]. F*ck you,” miners shouted at the woman, who took cover among police officers.

Farlam intervened, telling the miners to “cut the nonsense”.

“I am in charge of this inquiry and this is a public place. Everyone is free to wear what they want.

You have your Amcu [Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] T-shirts on,” he said.

Police warned the miners that they could be charged with intimidation. No arrests were made.

The mineworkers were relentless in their attacks and Diatile and NUM lawyers left.

Most of the Lonmin miners wore Amcu regalia.

Today, NUM lawyer Karel Tip SC said cases of intimidation had been opened at the Marikana police station.

“The matter will have to be investigated through those channels,” said Tip.

Dali Mpofu, for the arrested and injured Lonmin miners, said he was not at Marikana on Monday but he had been briefed about the incident.

“I have also had a discussion with some of the clients. From what I have heard already, there is some history and context to the events of yesterday,” said Mpofu.

“One should not jump to conclusions. If charges have been laid, it means maybe, hopefully, one day the matter will be properly ventilated in an appropriate forum.”

Meanwhile, Mpofu said he had “good news”.

“The appeal lodged by Legal Aid SA against the decision to fund the strikers (lawyers) was dismissed yesterday. There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Mpofu attended the hearing funding case in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein on Monday.

Today, Lonmin marketing director Albert Jamieson took the stand.

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