Phiyega: Mine wouldn't talk to the faceless

2013-04-16 15:54
Riah Phiyega (File: AP)

Riah Phiyega (File: AP)

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Rustenburg - Lonmin officials could not talk to "faceless people" during last year's wage-related strike, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Tuesday.

She was being cross-examined by Tim Bruinders, for trade union Amcu, at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Rustenburg.

Phiyega said she met mine management several days before 16 August, when police shot dead 34 miners at the company's Marikana operation.

"Lonmin said it cannot talk to faceless people," said Phiyega.

"We asked about unions. They said NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) was an official union."

Phiyega said she understood the mine did not recognise the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union. Police then provided pictures of the striking miners and showed them to Lonmin's head of security, who confirmed to management officials that they were mine employees.

She said they then encouraged management to address the miners. They did not object to doing so, she said.

"We encouraged that everybody must do what they can to secure a peaceful resolution."

Although she did not get a commitment from Lonmin, Phiyega said she was expecting them to talk to protesters.

"My impression was that they were an employer who had a responsibility," she said.

On Tuesday, relatives of the dead miners were at the commission, which is investigating the fatal shootings. Most of them occupied the second row of the auditorium at the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

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