Marikana commission hears of heated exchange

2012-11-27 15:51

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard details of an explosive meeting with police, Lonmin executives and union officials who were trying to find a solution to end the mineworkers’ strike that culminated in the deaths of more than 40 people.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa took to the witness stand to begin his testimony before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry today.

In his testimony, Mathunjwa revealed that he did not know who called the strike by rock drill operators at Lonmin.

Mathunjwa said he believed there were “sinister forces” at work but did not elaborate.

He said on the weekend of August 11 he received an SMS from Barnard Mokwena, a Lonmin spokesperson, that read: “Hey broer, there are four people shot at Wonderkop, so therefore call a meeting with your members.”

The commission listened to a recording of a heated exchange in which Mathunjwa lashed out at Lonmin executives as using “apartheid style threats”.

The meeting was held two days before police opened fire and killed 34 people in Marikana on August 16.

It was facilitated by Mathunjwa and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana after they met for an interview at the SABC studios in Johannesburg that morning.

The meeting was attended by North West deputy provincial commissioner Major General William Mpembe, who is heard pleading with the parties to intervene to prevent further loss of life.

At least 10 people had died by then.

An enraged Mathunjwa is heard saying people should be prosecuted if they break the law, regardless of union affiliation.

On the recording, someone is heard saying if the workers do not disperse, the police would move in.

But Mathunjwa responds: “No, no ... That is apartheid mentality! You cannot tell us we are in referee’s optional time and anytime the police will go and shoot!”

Earlier, Mathunjwa told the commission he believed the strike, which started on August 9, was organised by the workers themselves and Amcu never played any role in calling for the strike.

He said he wrote a letter to Lonmin in July, after he was informed that rock drill operators were planning to embark on a strike that was not sanctioned by any union.

Mathunjwa said he requested Lonmin not to accede to the demands, advising that it would set a bad precedent.

The inquiry continues.

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...

 

Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to idealise and prepare for the future rather than face the present. Right now life is putting challenges in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.