'Marikana protester wasn’t threatening'

2013-03-04 14:39
Striking Marikana miners (Picture: AFP)

Striking Marikana miners (Picture: AFP)

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Rustenburg - A protester was not threatening police when he said they would "finish each other" before the fatal shooting at Marikana, a survivor told the Farlam Commission on Monday.

Workers' representative Mgcineni Noki apparently told police: "... You are going to die here, we are going to finish each other... Let us sign a paper so that the whole world can see how we will kill each other today."

Testifying before the commission on Monday, Mzoxolo Magidiwana, 24, who was wounded in the shooting on August 16 last year, said he had not heard Noki, also known as Mambush.

Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, representing police, asked Magidiwana whether, if these words were addressed to him, he would consider this a challenge.

Magidiwana replied: "No, that is not so."

Waiting for Lonmin management

He had also not believed Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mthunjwa when he went to the hill where the strikers had gathered and warned them they should leave to avoid "bloodshed".

Magidiwana said the striking mineworkers had been waiting for Lonmin management to go to the hill and address their concerns.

Commission chairperson Ian Farlam asked whether Magidiwana had believed Mthunjwa when he said a decision had been made that the protesters would be killed.

Magidiwana replied: "I never believed that. I never thought about that."

Mthunjwa was not believed because no unions were involved in the workers' demands for a monthly wage of R12 500.

However, when police nyalas began rolling out barbed wire, he realised that what Mthunjwa had said was true, Magidiwana said.

Farlam asked why a group of protesters had run towards police, "making it easier for them to kill you".
"[We] never went towards the police," Magidiwana said.

Farlam said: "You went towards them, you were reducing the distance between them and you."

"No, it was not like that," Magidiwana said.

44 killed

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.

On 16 August, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when police opened fire while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

Magidiwana previously told the commission he was repeatedly shot and beaten by police on August 16.
He said police approached him, asking him where he had put the firearm.

Arrested but not detained

Police have alleged that Magidiwana was shot in an attempt to disarm him.

He was allegedly found with a Z88 pistol bearing the SA Police Service emblem.

Police said he was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He was arrested, but could not be detained because of the severity of his wounds.

Magidiwana was hospitalised at various institutions, under police guard.

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

A policeman has testified that Magidiwana conceded being in possession of the police firearm.
Another police officer submitted that he saw Magidiwana shoot at a nyala.

The 24-year-old has dismissed the police allegations as "nonsense".
Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining

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