Marikana widow demands justice

2014-03-27 19:13
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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

Pretoria - The wife of Warrant Officer Sello Leepaku, who was killed during a confrontation with Marikana miners in 2012, and critically wounded Lieutenant Shitumo Solomon Baloyi await justice, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

Louis Gumbi, for Leepaku's family and Baloyi, cross-examined North West police air wing commander Lieutenant Colonel Salmon Vermaak at the commission's public hearings in Pretoria on Thursday.

"The client I represent in this commission, when he was killed, had 23 years of experience as a public order policing [POP] member. He did not have disciplinary action against him and he had two loyalty medals.

"My second client, Lieutenant Baloyi, had around 23 years as a POP member and was mobilised that day from Pretoria. My mandate from the family of Leepaku, especially his wife, is that we leave no stone unturned around the death of Warrant Officer Leepaku," said Gumbi.

He said Baloyi, who sustained almost nine stab wounds during a confrontation with protesters at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, on 13 August 2012, wanted the truth.

"He says we must leave no stone unturned surrounding his injury. We are going to do that and since the beginning of this commission we have stuck to that mandate," said Gumbi.

He said Baloyi would testify at the inquiry, but senior SA Police Service officers had attempted to thwart his testimony.

"He will also testify, as you [Vermaak] testified in this commission, how you were intimidated by senior management of the SAPS to adduce evidence in this commission.

"He will testify about how he was intimidated by senior police officers in the SAPS when he wanted to present his own independent evidence about what transpired on the 13th."

Intimidation claims

At that stage, commission chairperson, retired Judge Ian Farlam, told Gumbi to file supplementary affidavits before dealing with Baloyi's intimidation claims.

Gumbi said Baloyi contended there was a lack of intelligence gathering when police officers were deployed to manage the crowd of miners armed with traditional weapons.

"The version of Lieutenant Baloyi is that information that General [William] Mpembe had regarding the group of strikers who had performed rituals with a sangoma, such information was supposed to be conveyed to officers.

"Such information was supposed to be conveyed to members in advance but on that day it was never conveyed. That information was important so that members, especially from Pretoria, [would] know the group they were going to confront."

Vermaak said critical information should have been relayed to the intervening officers.

Mpembe is North West deputy provincial police commissioner. He was in charge of the intervention at the Marikana strike.

Leepaku was one of two policemen hacked to death when miners attacked police on 13 August 2012. Warrant Officer Tsietsi Monene was shot and also hacked to death that day. Baloyi was repeatedly stabbed.

Three days later, on 16 August, police shot dead 34 people, mostly protesting miners, at the mine.

At least 78 miners were wounded when police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine while allegedly trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including Leepaku and Monene, and two security guards, were killed in the strike-related violence.

The commission is probing the 44 deaths.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  ian farlam  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks take ‘no mercy’ approach
Burger to equal Bok RWC record
Japan victory attracts record TV figures
iPads the secret to Japanese RWC success
Traffic Alerts

It is time to focus on your daily rhythm. Are you putting too much attention on future projects and neglecting the day to more

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


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 network.


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.