Mr X lashes out at Mpofu during inquiry

2014-07-21 19:14
Dali Mpofu (Picture: City Press)

Dali Mpofu (Picture: City Press)

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Pretoria - The cross-examination of a police witness, known only as Mr X, became intense on Monday as the mineworker insisted he had been insulted.

Advocate Dali Mpofu for the injured and arrested Marikana miners, was cross-examining Mr X, who testified via video link from an undisclosed location.

"Mr Mpofu has insulted me. He said I don't have a brain. We are going to discuss this in court," said Mr X.

"He is not a doctor. He says I was injured in my head. So I am telling this truth because I am mad?"

Chairperson of the commission, retired Judge Ian Farlam intervened, advising Mpofu to apologise to the witness. Farlam said the witness had entered a "mental block" and would not comprehend Mpofu's questions.

Mpofu turned down Farlam's recommendation.

"Can I put a few questions first? Have you ever heard of people undergoing physiological treatment after experiencing traumatic events?" said Mpofu.

Mr X responded: "How can I answer the question if I am mad?"

Mpofu said Mr X was evading the questions.

The squabble started before the lunch break, when Mpofu raised questions relating to Mr X's mental and emotional state.

"I am still listing the reasons why I am going to say your evidence should be discarded as a whole. I am putting this in the kindest possible way, you are in a bad mental and emotional state," said Mpofu.

Mr X responded: "You are insulting me, Mr Mpofu. I have said let us respect each other. You should say that in court...

"Can you talk to a mad person? I am asking you Mr Mpofu, can you talk to a mad person?"

Mpofu said he would not answer Mr X's question "out of respect".

The witness, who cannot be identified, is under police witness protection and has said he fears for his life.

Mr X claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin mineworkers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who underwent traditional rituals, and participated in the killing of Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani on 12 August 2012.

Mr X also claims he was among the protesters who shot and hacked two policemen to death on 13 August 2012.

Warrant Officers Tsietsi Monene and Sello Leepaku were killed during the confrontation at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

Mr X accused of lying

After the lunch break, Mpofu said Mr X lied to the commission when he requested a break on 3 July, citing a bereavement in his family.

Police lawyer Tebogo Mathibedi said Mpofu's questions were of no bearing to the inquiry's business. He said Mpofu's source was unknown.

Mpofu said if Mathibedi wanted proof that no funeral took place, he would call the whole of Mr X's village to testify.

Farlam said Mpofu should initially produce an affidavit to support his assertion that there was no funeral at Mr X's home.

The public hearings were adjourned on 3 July after Mr X requested a break to attend a funeral.

The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's mining operations at Marikana.

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 the two policemen and the two security guards, were killed.

The public hearings resume on Tuesday.

Read more on:    ian farlam  |  dali mpofu  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry

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