Amcu: Marikana miners calm before shooting

2012-11-28 15:24
Mgcineni Noki, the ‘Man in the Green Blanket’, addresses striking Lonmin workers just hours before 34 miners were shot dead in clashes with police. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

Mgcineni Noki, the ‘Man in the Green Blanket’, addresses striking Lonmin workers just hours before 34 miners were shot dead in clashes with police. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rustenburg - Protesting mineworkers at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana were calm when Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa returned to the hill where they had gathered on 16 August, the Farlam Commission heard on Wednesday.

Mathunjwa told the hearing an Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) delegation pledged on 15 August to return to the Wonderkop hill after speaking to Lonmin management.

"Before we got to the koppie [hill], we could see movement of police officers holding rifles, and Nyalas. These were different scenes from what we had seen [on 15 August]," said Mathunjwa.

"We had previously seen police officers drinking Coca-Cola and chatting. At the joint operations committee [on 16 August], there were vehicles which could fill a football pitch."

He said he had been significantly delayed at the joint operations committee because North West deputy police commissioner Lieutenant General William Mpembe said there were no vehicles to take the Amcu delegation to the hill.

‘Calm atmosphere’


"I went around and saw three vehicles which had been used on the previous day. I asked Mpembe about it and he said those vehicles did not have keys.

"We decided to head to the koppie in our private vehicles. I went very close to the protesters. I spoke to the protesters and the atmosphere was calm," he said.

Earlier, Mathunjwa told the commission about his interaction with Lonmin executives and senior police officers hours before the shooting on 16 August.

He said mine management had reneged on a commitment, made on 15 August, to address the protesters' grievances once they disarmed and returned to work.

"I was agitated. They were reneging on their commitment. I had already communicated that [commitment] to the workers. I felt we were betrayed as a union," he said.

Moments later, the Lonmin officials brought a cellphone to Mathunjwa, urging him to speak to the person on the line.

"The person on the phone did not introduce herself, she was just rude and her voice was harsh. That person was North West provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo," said Mathunjwa.

"She kept saying I had made a commitment to return to the koppie by 09:00 [to persuade the strikers to disarm and disperse]. I told her I had been delayed by the Lonmin management who had somersaulted from their commitment. She said she doesn't care," he said.

Altercation with top cop

The Amcu team then headed to the joint operations committee where it met Mbombo, who was taking over the reins of the police operation.

"She said we were late, the sun was hot and the matter had to be finished that day. I explained the reasons for us being late and she said she wasn’t interested," said Mathunjwa.

"She repeatedly said that our reasons were not her business," he said.

The Amcu team was left alone, with no police vehicles to transport them to the hill as stipulated in police safety and security regulations.

Mathunjwa said the team resolved to go to the hill on its own.

Later that day, police opened fire while trying to disarm and disperse protesting miners on the hill, killing 34 of them and wounding 78.

The three-member commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, was established by President Jacob Zuma to probe into the violence and the deaths of 44 people in wage-related protests.

In August, Zuma said the commission would complete its work within four months, and would have to submit its final report a month later.
- SAPA
Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  amcu  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining
NEXT ON NEWS24X
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
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
Investment tips you need to know 2015-01-29 14:07

Ever wondered how to assess your future potential liability? Feroz Basa, Senior Portfolio Manager Old Mutual Investment Group, weighs in on all the investment tips you need to know. WATCH.

/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Games on Sale!

Save up to 60% on selected games. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to connect to your inner needs and try to get things back into a more balanced rhythm. There will be emotional...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.