Marikana families await the truth

2013-11-08 14:06
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - Families of Lonmin mineworkers killed during labour unrest at Marikana last year, eagerly await the truth around the circumstances in which their relatives died, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza for 33 of the families, cross-examined North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe over his leadership role in the police intervention team on and before the 16 August 2012, fatal clash.

"General, you are aware that those families are here either by themselves or through legal representatives in order to establish what really happened," said Ntsebeza.

"You were involved [at Marikana] in a commander position, they want to know what role you played in the events that took place from the 13th to the 16th [in August last year]. You wouldn’t disagree with me if I put that to you?"

Mpembe agreed.

"I do not know them personally but to my personal knowledge, I know that they are in the commission and they would like to know what was my role and contribution. Yes, I was in a command position."

However, Mpembe disagreed with Ntsebeza’s assertion that his conduct at the inquiry would have a bearing on his career, particularly promotion in the SA Police Service.

Mpembe had been in the police service for about 27 years and conceded during the cross-examination that he had "legitimate ambitions of going higher up in the ladder".


Previously, Mpembe broke down during cross-examination at the commission, saying he was hurt by accusations made against him.

He said he was hurt by statements made by Michelle le Roux, for the SA Human Rights Commission, during the August cross-examination.

The three-member commission led by retired Judge Ian Farlam is holding public hearings in Centurion.

The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead on 16 August and 78 were wounded when the police fired on them while trying to disperse and disarm a group which had gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West on 16 August 2012.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policeman and two security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in August last year.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  ian farlam  |  marikana inquiry

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