Marikana's Mr X begs for forgiveness

2014-07-17 20:16
(Picture: Beeld)

(Picture: Beeld)

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Pretoria - Mr X repeatedly apologised for his role in murders at Marikana, at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria on Thursday.

"I want to beg for forgiveness. We killed those people at Marikana. Their children are going to grow up without their fathers," the police witness, who may not be identified, said.

He was being cross-examined by Takalani Masevhe, for the family of slain Warrant Officer Tsietsi Monene.

"Mr X, I would want you to know that the family of Warrant Officer Monene and other families whose members you participated in killing are here today.

"What would you like to say to them?" Masevhe asked.

Mr X replied: "We killed them for money. Money is certainly not as important as life. Those people were killed for nothing. I sincerely apologise."

Mr X is under police witness protection and is testifying at the commission via video link from an undisclosed location.

Monene was one of two policemen shot and hacked to death when striking Lonmin miners attacked police on 13 August 2012.

His colleague, Warrant Officer Sello Leepaku, died after being repeatedly stabbed during the confrontation at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

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, allegedly while 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.

On Thursday, Masevhe said forensic experts concluded Monene was shot at close range.

After much hesitation, Mr X said those responsible were a protester, Tholakele, popularly known as Bhele, and Bongani, popularly known as Bhayi. He said he did not know their surnames.

"I want to apologise because these men said I should not mention their names. I communicate with the men of Marikana. They must tell the truth," said Mr X.

"Magubane [a protester] and others have told me that. They sent a message which I got it recently when the inquiry took a break."

Mr X said Magubane hacked at Monene's head and many protesters stabbed him.

The witness claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin workers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who underwent traditional rituals, and participated in the killing of two Lonmin security guards and the two police officers.

Mr X's testimony is expected to continue on Friday.

- SAPA

Read more on:    police  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry
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