Dead NUM leader was a witness - lawyer

2012-10-22 15:26
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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2012-10-22 14:42

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Rustenburg - A NUM branch secretary who was killed in Marikana earlier this month was going to be a material witness, the judicial inquiry into the shooting at the Lonmin mine heard on Monday.

"He [Daluvuyo Bongo] had attended the inspection of 1 and 2 October and," the National Union of Mineworkers lawyer Karel Tip said.

"[On October 2] he pointed out various areas in and around the NUM offices."

Tip was making his opening comments at the inquiry chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam.

Tip said NUM believed Bongo's murder was a "target killing".

Bongo was shot six times at his home at the Wonderkop hostel complex in Marikana on 5 October.

The commission had visited this hostel three days before he was shot.

"Many NUM leaders and shopstewards have had to leave their residences," said Tip.

This had an impact on NUM's preparation for the inquiry.

Earlier this month the commission conducted an in loco inspection of the area where 34 miners had been shot and 78 injured on August 16.

The inspection included the mining hostels, the informal settlement, and the hospital where injured miners were taken.

One of the areas also inspected was the NUM office in Marikana were mine workers said union officials shot at them.

Tip said evidence would show that NUM had held numerous meetings encouraging its members not to take part in the unprotected strike.

It also assisted its members and other workers who were trying to go to work at the time.

On 11 August several hundred strikers marched to the NUM office.

"[They marched] with malicious attempt and a confrontation ensued," said Tip.

"There are different versions... But NUM will show that the use of firearms was justified."

Tip gave commissioners background to how the unprotected strikes in the North West started, saying the 16 August shooting "had roots in previous disputes". He was referring to incidents at Impala Platinum and Lonmin's Karee mine.

Tip also pointed out that the commission was conducting its work as violence and intimidation at Marikana was continuing.

The situation which led to the 16 August shooting had not abated and had spread to other mines resulting in more deaths.

Lonmin's lawyer Schalk Burger, told the commission evidence for the mining company would testify to the demands leading to the strike, confrontation between striking workers and NUM officials on 11 August, and the killings on 12 and 13 August.

Burger said Lonmin's evidence would not look at who caused the shooting.

"We will do this after we have given evidence... We will not engage with fingers already pointed," he said.

Burger said the intimidation of Lonmin witnesses had also been a problem.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  num  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest
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