Human tissue 'makes stronger muti'

2013-03-11 16:27
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Human tissue and blood were used to make stronger muti to protect striking mineworkers in August last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

The sons of a sangoma told the miners certain rituals would "render them strong, invincible, and invisible", said advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, counsel for the police, while questioning miner Mzoxolo Magidiwana.

Ngalwana put it to Magidiwana that a police witness, "Mr X", would testify that a group known as the "Makarapa" were not afraid of police and took part in various rituals to protect themselves.

He said scars were made on members of the Makarapa and muti was put on the incisions.

"Mr X would testify that the muti would prevent bullets from penetrating the skin, the sons of the sangoma told the Makarapa," he said.

Ngalwana added that the sons of the sangoma demonstrated this by shooting at a box.

He said the rituals showed the "intent of the Makarapa group".

"It would explain why the group, armed with sharp objects, charged at the police who were armed with rifles."

Magidiwana, speaking through an interpreter, said: "No sir, these things you are saying now is confusing me - I don't know anything about it."

Ngalwana continued: "The tongue and chin of a security guard was cut out by you guys."

Magidiwana responded: "I'm hearing about this for the first time."

Ngalwana said the human parts were then handed to the sangoma.

However, Magidiwana said it was the first time he heard of these rituals and the Makarapa.

He said his understanding of Makarapa was that it was something you put on your head when you went underground for protection.

"I said to you that this Mr X must come and answer on his version," Magidiwana added.

You would cry

Commission chairperson retired judge Ian Farlam intervened and said that in a previous statement it was averred that members of the Makarapa had scars and cuttings on their ears.

"There are no cuttings to the ears," he said.

Ngalwana told the commission that the Makarapa burned two sheep and put the ashes on cuts on their left ears.

He also said Mr X would testify that the Makarapa went to the K4 shaft to see who was reporting for work to stop them from working.

On 13 August, the Makarapa, workers committee members, and striking mineworkers went to the eastern platinum shaft where they came across a man and assaulted and killed him, Ngalwana said.

Magidiwana replied: "I know nothing about that."

Ngalwana said the group was stopped by police.

The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana last year.

On 16 August, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

Magidiwana told the commission that some of the events of 16 August were not caught on camera.

"Until today they are not showing everything. If everything was to be shown even you [Ngalwana] would cry," said Magidiwana.

"The intention was that everyone had to die there."

Last week, Magidiwana repeatedly said he could not recall being on the koppie in the days leading up to 16 August.

Magidiwana previously told the commission police repeatedly shot and beat him on 16 August. He was arrested for possession of a firearm, but could not be detained because of the severity of his injuries.

He has denied police claims that he carried a firearm and that he shot at a police Nyala vehicle.

The commission resumed on Monday morning with Farlam requesting video footage of police shooting the miners not be shown unless it was necessary.

Farlam said during the shooting Magidiwana's life took a "dramatic turn" and watching the clip was causing "tremendous emotional turmoil for him".

On Monday morning, the Marikana Support Campaign said miners giving evidence at the commission were "being inappropriately cross-examined" by Ngalwana.

This comes after the commission was adjourned when Magidiwana broke down during cross-examination last week.

"The Marikana support Campaign calls for Judge Farlam to take stronger action to protect mine worker witnesses, particularly those who have been shot and injured," it said in a statement.

The hearings continue.

- SAPA

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