Mambush 'flouted sangomas' instructions

2014-07-18 19:52

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Pretoria - The Marikana miners' leader, known as "Mambush", did not follow all the instructions handed out by sangomas, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

The leader of a group of militant striking miners, also known as "the man in the green blanket", apparently flouted an instruction to abstain from changing clothing in the days leading up to a violent clash with police.

This was the testimony of police witness Mr X, who cannot be named and is testifying via a video link to protect his identity, as he fears repercussions for giving evidence.

Mr X claimed he was part of a group of striking Lonmin workers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who participated in traditional rituals and the killing of two Lonmin security guards and two police officers, who were shot and hacked to death when striking Lonmin miners attacked the police on 13 August 2012.


Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, for the families of the slain protesters, asked Mr X to recall the sangomas' instructions in a ritual that aimed to make the protesters impenetrable to police bullets and invisible to the police.

The instructions included abstaining from "sleeping with women", killing snakes or rabbits and changing or washing their clothing.

Ntsebeza asked Mr X to show that Mambush had not complied with the instruction about changing his clothes.

Ntsebeza asked Mr X to look at video clips of Mambush in the days leading up to the clash with the police and to compare Mambush's clothing on the different days.

In some clips, Mambush appeared to be wearing a light-coloured, long-sleeved shirt and jacket under his distinctive green blanket, while in others his shirt or jacket appeared to be of darker colours.

Ntsebeza asked Mr X: "Can you see that is blue jeans and not of a darker colour [as was the case in an earlier video clip]?"

Mr X said: "The colours are not the same."

Ntsebeza asked: "The shirt, is it the same?"

Mr X conceded it was not the same.

Ntsebeza said: "Either there was not such a thing [as the sangomas' instructions] or there was nobody who followed them, even Mambush, the leader."


He also asked why there appeared to be more detail in an evidence statement Mr X gave this year, compared to one he made last year.

"What you are saying in the second statement [regarding instructions from the sangomas], you put it into the statement because you wanted to come in line with the police's case..."

Mr X disputed this.

"I'm saying these were the inyangas' [traditional healers'] instructions." Earlier, Mr X denied having anything to gain in exchange for his testimony.

Asked what he thought would happen to him after the Commission's work ended, Mr X said: "I am thinking I will also be charged because I have also killed."

Ntsebeza asked: "You said your life is in danger. What makes you think so?"

Mr X replied: "Because I mentioned everything we did at Marikana."


Asked by Ntsebeza who would do something to him, Mr X answered: "It is a person, or people, that I have involved about everything we did wrong."

At the beginning of the month, evidence leader Geoff Budlender cast doubt on Mr X's credibility.

He argued that his evidence that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa was at Marikana on 14 August 2012 was not consistent with evidence from phone records.

The inquiry, which is led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

The Commission adjourned until Monday, when the Amcu representative is expected to cross-examine Mr X.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  farlam inquiry

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