Lonmin guard: Marikana attack was quick

2014-07-28 17:52
Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - Lonmin security guards did not assist protesting Marikana miners attacked by National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members on 11 August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

Julius Motlogelwa, of Lonmin's tactical response unit, was questioned by Dali Mpofu, for the wounded and arrested miners, at the inquiry in Pretoria.

"What we can legitimately blame security for, is that you did nothing to stop the attack by the NUM people on the crowd," said Mpofu.

Motlogelwa said the scuffle between about 30 NUM officials and thousands of protesting miners happened in a flash.

"It happened quickly," he said.

Mpofu said even after the skirmishes at the NUM offices at Lonmin, the mine security did not reveal the attackers to police. NUM officials allegedly fired several shots at the strikers who had approached the union offices on 11 August 2012.

Several people were injured in the brawl.

"When we realised that people were injured, the police were not there. We deliberated on how the injured can get medical assistance," said Motlogelwa.

Mpofu said after saving the injured, the mine security should have reported the individual attackers to police.

"You knew that Mr Setelele was there. The truth is that until today, even though those people have been identified, they haven't been arrested," said Mpofu.

"I am putting part of the blame on you, though most blame must go to the police. Mr Setelele went to the grave without having been charged for this."

NUM branch chairperson William Setelele, 46, was shot eight times and killed in Nkaneng informal settlement in October last year.

Frans Mabelani and another senior security guard Hassan Fundi were killed during a confrontation with the strikers on 12 August 2012. They were trying to prevent protesters from getting to the NUM offices again.

The security had information that the protesters wanted to torch the NUM office. After the death of Fundi and Mabelani, the crowd proceeded to the NUM offices but did not set them alight.

Mpofu said the pair's death was in vain.

"In terms of preventing the people from going to NUM offices, those people [guards] really died for nothing because the protesters did go to the NUM office but didn't burn it," said Mpofu.

"Those deaths were senseless because on the 11th [August 2012] you decided not to prevent the crowd from going to the NUM offices. Instead you preferred that the offices be vacated. The crowd marching on the 11th wasn't armed but the crowd on 12 August was armed."

Motlogelwa said a security leader had decided on a different approach on 12 August, unlike the one used on the previous day.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on 16 August 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and the two security guards, were killed.

- SAPA
Read more on:    lonmin  |  num  |  marikana inquiry
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