Marikana massacre not in Lonmin executive’s ‘wildest imagination’

2014-06-03 17:50

A senior Lonmin official was shocked by the shooting of 34 miners in Marikana.

“In my wildest imagination, I could not expect something like that,” Michael Gomes da Costa, vice-president of Lonmin’s Karee mine, told the Marikana Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria today.

“To think so many lives were lost stunned me. I cannot imagine the pain felt by people who lost husbands, brothers.”

Evidence leader Geoff Budlender said he would argue that Lonmin’s refusal to talk directly to the strikers resulted in the deaths.

Da Costa said Lonmin could not send management to the hill in Marikana, North West, where the strikers had gathered because the situation was volatile and uncontrollable.

“It would be irresponsible to send an executive ... my understanding was there was no delegation put forward to speak to management,” he said.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the violent wage-related strike at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations in Marikana.

On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly mine workers, were shot dead by police trying to disarm and disperse them. Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

The commission continues on Thursday.

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