Marikana strike 'redifined as criminal act'

2013-02-06 18:45
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Labour Law Rules!
    Educate yourself with this book about labour law rules, principal labour, equity, skills... Now R282.00
    buy now

Rustenburg - The strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine was re-defined as a criminal act to allow for violence against the workers, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Wednesday.

This was the argument put forward by Dali Mpofu, acting for those injured and arrested during the violent strikes at the North West mine in August last year.

"We are going to argue... that these e-mails...constitute concerted pressure that was being put, among others, on the police and firstly on government to not call [the strike] labour-related, but a criminal action," he said in the commission's hearings in Rustenburg, North West.

"And that was a platform from which it would be easier to inflict violence upon the strikers."

Mpofu was referring to e-mails exchanged by Lonmin director Cyril Ramaphosa and other senior Lonmin managers on 15 August, the day before 34 workers were killed at Marikana.

In one of them, Lonmin chief commercial officer Albert Jamieson described how, during a radio interview, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu described the unrest at Marikana as a wage dispute.

"Not sure who briefed her. We are waiting to talk to her, and although not too damaging, it's also not too helpful," he wrote.

He wrote that the situation amounted to civil unrest which could not be resolved without political intervention, and needed to be stabilised by the police or army.

Ramaphosa responded he would talk to Shabangu.

"The terrible events that have unfolded cannot be described as a labour dispute. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such. In line with this characterisation there needs to be concomitant action to address this situation," he wrote.

Later Ramaphosa wrote back to inform them he had spoken to Shabangu in Cape Town.

"She agrees that what we are going through is not a labour dispute but a criminal act. She will correct her characterisation of what we are experiencing."

He went on to say Shabangu would go to Cabinet, and brief President Jacob Zuma, and get Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to act.

Criminal act

Mpofu was questioning National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana on the e-mails, and the change in the strike's characterisation.

Mpofu argued that the pressure exerted by senior Lonmin managers helped change it from a "labour dispute" to a "criminal act" within a few hours.

Zokwana disagreed. He said the fact that Shabangu changed her mind did not mean she bowed to pressure by Lonmin. "They might know something we don't know here," he said.

Mpofu said the change in characterisation made it easier for the police and army to be called in to deal with the strike.

Zokwana said he was not in a position to respond. "Police and Lonmin were better placed to answer," he said.

Mpofu said phrasings such as "dastardly criminal", calls for the army to stabilise the situation, and a request for Mthethwa to act in a more "pointed way" helped change the characteristics of the strike.

"We will submit they are all euphemisms for deadly violence."

On Wednesday afternoon, Zokwana said he believed the strike at Marikana would have failed had it not been for the violence.

"Had there been no violence at Lonmin, no intimidation, no murders, no people threatening offices, I wonder if that strike could have succeeded."

The commission is investigating the 34 deaths on 16 August, when 78 people were also wounded, and 10 deaths, including those of two policemen and two security guards, in the preceding week.
- SAPA
Read more on:    num  |  lonmin  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  senzeni zokwana  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  marikana inquiry
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
18 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Kuils River 16:18 PM
Road name: R300 Southbound

ACCIDENT on the side of the carriageway after the Van Riebeeck Road exit - DELAYS

Bellville 16:14 PM
Road name: Strand Road Eastbound

DELAYS approaching the R300 Highway

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Business Support Manager

Cape Town
Human Communications (Pty) Ltd

Supervisor - Call Centre

Cape Town
Purple Door Recruitment (Pty) Ltd
R6 000 - R7 000 Per Month

Product Developer

Western Cape
Contract Accountants
R350 000 - R500 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.