Lonmin lawyers on the attack at inquiry

2013-06-04 18:42
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Lawyer Dali Mpofu's statements directed at national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, were shot down by other lawyers at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday.

Mpofu, for the miners who were wounded and arrested in a clash with police on 16 August last year, suggested the police had shown no impartiality in their actions at Marikana and had sided with Lonmin.

"On 13 August, you were the only person present at the Lonmin premises for a briefing by the company?" Mpofu asked Phiyega.

Schalk Burger, for Lonmin, objected that Mpofu was trying to argue his closing speech and get Phiyega to comment on it.

Mpofu said there was a "toxic" relationship between the police and Lonmin, and that Lonmin "stoked the flames" of union rivalry during the unrest.

Burger again objected, this time that there was no basis to claim that Lonmin and the police had colluded and had a "toxic" relationship.

"What do you rely on regarding this toxic relationship?... Based on what? On nonsense?... This is wrong and harmful to my client and I object," he said.

Mpofu claimed "improper pressure" had been put on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa by National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzo Zokwana and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.


In his statement to the commission, Mthethwa said both Zokwana and Ramaphosa had phoned on 12 August to raise concerns about the events at Marikana.

Mthethwa said he told them he would convey their concerns and requests to Phiyega.

She, in turn, promised Mthethwa that police were attending to the matter.

"It was the improper efforts by politically-connected individuals to get the minister to see the event as a criminal one, rather than a labour dispute," Mpofu submitted.

Commission chairperson retired Judge Ian Farlam, asked what was improper about one side raising issues with the police, and perhaps escalating them higher to the minister.

Mpofu said it would no longer be improper if some of the miners were able to fly to Parliament in Cape Town, and ask to speak to a minister or the president and be successful in that request.

Ishmael Semenya, for the police, objected that Mpofu's statement was unfair.

The commission, sitting in Centurion, Pretoria, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people during violent unrest near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana last year.

On 16 August, police shot dead 34 miners.

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

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  num  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  ian farlam  |  nathi mthethwa  |  ishmael semenya  |  riah phiyega  |  dali mpofu  |  schalk burger  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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