‘Unions wanted Lonmin talks inside bargaining council’

2014-11-10 18:00

The unions didn’t want Lonmin to negotiate with the strikers during the deadly action in 2012, argued Advocate Schalk Burger on behalf of the mining company at the Marikana Commission.

Burger today argued that there was evidence showing that both the presidents of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) did not want the mining house to negotiate with the strikers outside the bargaining council.

Burger said this is evident in the letter Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa wrote to Barnard Mokwena on August 10 2012.

A part of the letter reads: “Whoever will be receiving the memorandum must inform the marchers that receiving such memorandum does not set any precedence. This memorandum will be communicated by management to the respective unions and a meeting will be coordinated to discuss the content of the memorandum.”

Mathunjwa’s letter continued to say: “We urge management not to take extreme measures in addressing this predicament by not giving undue recognition to these sinister forces that are not known by ourselves.”

Burger said it was clear from the contents of Mathunjwa’s letter that “the purpose of the meeting would have been to discuss the content of the memorandum and that no direct negotiation with the strikers would be embarked on”.

NUM president Senzeni Zokwana had testified that if he had been a Lonmin manager he would have not gone to the koppie given the killings that had taken place and the fact that the miners were armed.

Burger argued that there was another reason why it would have been dangerous for Lonmin management to have gone to negotiate with the strikers on the koppie: “The gathering was unlawful. The strikers were armed with dangerous weapons. What would have happened if management went there and told the miners that R12 500 was inconceivable.”

He added that even if management had listened to the strikers, the company would still have denied them the R12 500 and that would not have ended the strike.

Lonmin’s representatives also argued that even if it had provided the security personnel with more equipment and resources there is no evidence to show that this would have stopped the strikers from attacking the two security guards.

Burger included briefly in his arguments that Cyril Ramaphosa, who was nonexecutive director of Lonmin board in 2012, did nothing wrong in contacting the ministers. He wanted to get the situation under control and end the violence.

Though Ramaphosa has filed his final arguments, neither he or his lawyer will be presenting it before the commission.

Evidence leader Advocate Geoff Budlender made a short announcement stating that the deputy president “stands by his submission and will not be presenting them before the commission”.

Cyril Ramaphosa Marikana Submission

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