Miners were threatening - guard

2014-07-24 18:02
Thousands of Lonmin miners in Marikana turned violent to ensure that operations at the company’s mine shafts had stopped during their six ensure week-long strike demanding better wages. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/City Press

Thousands of Lonmin miners in Marikana turned violent to ensure that operations at the company’s mine shafts had stopped during their six ensure week-long strike demanding better wages. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/City Press

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

Pretoria - The attitude of striking mineworkers changed significantly in the days leading up to clashes between protesters and police in Marikana in North West on 16 August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday.

"On Friday [10 August 2012], the crowd only spoke to indicate to other protesters to keep quiet. On Sunday [12 August 2013], the crowd was different, especially with regards to the amount of weapons carried," Lonmin security superintendent Dewald Louw told the inquiry in Pretoria.

"The way they acted, chanted, and the way they were holding their spears on Sunday was different. One took his spear and acted as if he was slitting his throat. They were taunting us, the facial expressions were not friendly."

At one point, Louw said his counterpart Martin Foster asked if he should shoot.

"They [protesters] were looking for some sort of reaction from us. We called for back-up and that is when we were attacked," said Louw.

He said the crowd went into a crouching position as they attacked.

"They were hostile because of the manner they moved. I got the impression that this was not like one of any crowds we had dealt with ever since I started working at Lonmin in 2008," said Louw.

"I was not sure where the other security vehicles where. Some were patrolling in the outskirts of the mining area. I thought that if the other [security] vehicles rushed we could get help within seven to 10 minutes."

Louw said his partner drove away and stopped after some distance to "take off pieces of glass" from their vehicle.

He said he gave a clear warning to the Lonmin security control room, over the two-way radio, that the "protesters should not be engaged because they were hostile".

Only to control room

Louw said he gave the warning only to the security control room, and was not sure if two Lonmin security guards killed by protesters that day - Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani - got his warning.

The two were not at the control room.

"They might have heard me if they had radios. I am not aware of the situation with regards to the equipment they had. Even if they had hand radio, some of the messages can get lost in translation since we don't have sufficient reception in some areas."

Commission chair retired judge Ian Farlam asked whether Fundi and Mabelani had cellphones.

Louw said they had.

Commissioner Pingla Hemraj asked Louw to explain whether he conveyed a message to fellow security guards that "a lot more security personnel would be required to approach the area".

Louw said he did not convey the message.

"Remember I had just been attacked and had almost lost my life. I was also injured but that did not matter, the only thing that mattered was for the crowd not to be engaged," said Louw.

"I requested the control room to call all managers and inform them of what had happened. My main concern was that people may die unnecessarily. Engaging the crowd is not our main priority," he said.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people in strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on 16 August 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and the two security guards, were killed.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry

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
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


90-year-old's incredible travels

Age is but a number. This grandma is living life to the fullest!


Where were you when you last felt alive?

10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Snors with a cause - creating awareness of male health
Watch! Skateboarders racing cyclists
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

HDPE Pipe Fitter - Plastics

Western Cape
Oxyon Human Capital Solutions (Pty) Ltd

IT Business analyst

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
People Source (Pty) Ltd

Equity Analyst

Cape Town
SET Recruitment Consultants
R350 000 - R400 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

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

TV Series – 2 for R299

Loads of hot titles to choose from. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! 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


You may be doing the work and playing the game, but your innovative mind is on a far away planet planning the next big thing....read 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 24.com 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.