Lonmin admits exerting political pressure

2014-09-10 18:24
Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - A senior Lonmin employee admitted that he wanted Cyril Ramaphosa to influence politicians to intervene during the strike at Marikana in August 2012, the Farlam Commission of inquiry heard on Wednesday.

"The only other pressure I wanted from Cyril is please to get the minister to speak to our chairperson," said Albert Jamieson, Lonmin's former chief commercial officer.

"He clearly had her on speed dial."

Ramaphosa, who is now deputy president, was a shareholder and non-executive board member of Lonmin at the time of the strike.

Dali Mpofu, who represents the miners injured and arrested at Marikana, in North West, in 2012, pointed to an e-mail Jamieson sent to Ramaphosa on 15 August 2012.

In it, he said: "If you can talk to the minister, please could you influence these things with her and encourage her to make time to talk to [Lonmin chairperson] Roger [Phillimore]."

He said the reason Ramaphosa was used was because of his position in the African National Congress.

Jamieson agreed with Mpofu that it was unlawful for him and Ramaphosa to exert political pressure on politicians.

"It's not the right use of political pressure," he said.

Jamieson said Ramaphosa was approached after Lonmin executives were unsuccessful in contacting the then minister of mineral resources, Susan Shabangu.

Mpofu criticised Jamieson for his characterisation of the strike as a criminal act and not a labour dispute.

"It was the characterisation of the situation there as criminal that led to the deaths of these people. You were the person that was obsessed with changing the characterisation," Mpofu said.

Jamieson responded: "There was no further reason to characterise it as criminal because the police were on site."

He said the issue was to sustain the 800-strong police force at Marikana.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during unrest near Lonmin's mine at Marikana.

Police opened fire on a group of mostly striking mineworkers, killing 34 of them on 16 August 2012. Around 70 people were injured and more than 200 were arrested. Police claimed they were trying to disperse and disarm them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

Read more on:    susan shabangu  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  dali mpofu  |  marikana inquiry

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