Marikana families head home

2013-02-28 14:33
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - Families of the Lonmin mineworkers who were shot during a wage-related protest in Marikana last August will go home on Thursday, the Farlam Commission heard.

Commission chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam, said the families had "issues to attend to at home" in the Eastern Cape.

They would return at a later date to attend the commission's public hearings into the deaths in August of 44 people in Marikana, North West.

"It is important for them [families] to know that the situation with respect to their loved ones who were killed is being thoroughly investigated and I hope they find consolation in the fact that we are doing our best to ascertain the truth of what happened," he said.

Farlam said it was critical for the families to attend the hearings, and he wished them a safe journey on the long ride to and from the Eastern Cape.

Survivor giving evidence

On Thursday, proceedings began with a sequence of videos captured when the violence broke out.
They were presented by Dali Mpofu, who is appearing for the mineworkers who were arrested on 16 August.

Mpofu led Mzoxolo Magidiwana, 24, a survivor of the shooting, in giving evidence about the events of 16 August.

Magidiwana disputed several statements made by police officers, alleging that he was shot after being seen firing at police officers assigned to quell the protests at the hill.

The police have alleged that Magidiwana was shot to disarm him. He was allegedly found with a Z88 pistol bearing the emblem of the SA Police Service.

They have said he was charged with the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. He was arrested, but could not be detained because of the severity of his injuries.

Magidiwana was hospitalised at different institutions, under police guard.

He was charged as accused number 273 of the protesting mineworkers.

‘Nyala started dragging barbed wire’

On Wednesday, Magidiwana told the commission that the protesting mineworkers were shot while trying to escape to a nearby informal settlement.

He said he joined a group of protesters who "dashed in the direction of Nkaneng" informal settlement when they had observed that police officers were surrounding them.

"When we got closer to one of the Nyalas [an armoured police vehicle], it started moving, dragging barbed wire. The Nyala outpaced us and we were not able to access the road to Nkaneng," he said.

Magidiwana said at that stage, police started shooting in the direction of the fleeing group.

He said his group made a U-turn and headed towards another gap, in another attempt to flee to Nkaneng.

"As soon as we emerged on the other side of the kraal, we were met with rapid gunfire. I was hit on my left leg. I stumbled and fell behind the others who had been shot, including Noki [a leader of the protesters who was fatally shot]," said Magidiwana, who is on crutches.

Magidiwana said he was in pain even while testifying at the commission on Wednesday, and that he often visited hospitals.

"I am in severe pain from the wounds on my legs, abdomen, elbow and testicles. I have been advised that there is a strong possibility that I may never be able to father children," Magidiwana said in an affidavit presented to the commission.

The commission is holding hearings in Rustenburg, North West, as part of its inquiry into the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike in Marikana last year.
Read more on:    lonmin  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining  |  mining unrest

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