Political pressure before Marikana shooting

2013-10-23 22:19
Judge Ian Farlam, chairperson of the Marikana commission of inquiry. (Picture: AFP)

Judge Ian Farlam, chairperson of the Marikana commission of inquiry. (Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - ANC deputy president and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, EFF leader Julius Malema and Scopa chairman Themba Godi’s roles and influence were raised in evidence at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday.

Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson SC touched on a transcript of a meeting between North West police chief Lt-Gen Zukiswa Mbombo and Lonmin mine executives, including Barnard Mokwena and Jomo Kwadi, on 14 August, two days before the shooting.

Mbombo was recorded as saying: "When I was speaking to [Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa], he mentioned to me a name that is calling him, that is pressurising him, unfortunately it is a politically high [individual]."

Mokwena interjected: "It is Cyril?"

Mbombo replied: "Cyril Ramaphosa. Yes. When I was talking to national commissioner [Riah Phiyega] last night she said to me: ‘Who are the shareholders here?’ and I said I do not know the shareholders, but I know that the minister mentioned Cyril.

"And then she said: ‘Now I got it.’ You know why she says she got it? Remember, Cyril was in the [African National Congress] appeals committee of Malema, remember?" Mokwena agreed.

Mbombo continued: "At Impala [mine], Malema came with our [North West] premier and spoke to those people, and ourselves, as the police, we managed to manage the situation after Malema came.

"Our discussion with the national commissioner was around this thing now happening, to say again, Malema come and defuse this thing. It becomes as if Malema has taken charge of the mining, the mine."

Mokwena agreed again.

Amcu behind it

The police chief highlighted Malema’s campaign to nationalise South Africa's mines. She said the Marikana stand-off had to be defused by "moving in to kill it".

Mokwena cut in: "Amongst the 1000 calls I got yesterday, I got a call from Godi [the chair of Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts and leader of the African People's Convention party]."

Mbombo said: "Themba Godi. He is operating in this area, Moruleng and all that. So I know, he was phoning me now."

The document detailed Mokwena’s intention to end the strike. He was quoted as saying to Mbombo: "Our priority is we want people arrested, okay. It is very clear Amcu [the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] is behind it [the strike].

"One of them made a clear statement on television last night."

Last year, Ramaphosa’s name featured prominently in the early stages of the inquiry.

Dali Mpofu, representing the miners wounded and arrested after the shooting on 16 August, said there was an e-mail in which Ramaphosa condemned the protests, describing them as criminal acts and suggesting "concomitant action".

"This [e-mail] was on 15 August at 14:58, exactly 24 hours before the people were mowed down on that mountain," Mpofu said at the time.

"We have e-mails that were being exchanged between Lonmin management, government ministers [of mineral resources and the police] and at the centre is a gentleman called Cyril Ramaphosa," he said.

Concomitant action

"He advanced that what was taking place were criminal acts and must be characterised as such. In line with this characterisation [Ramaphosa said] there needs to be concomitant action to address the situation," said Mpofu.

He said the e-mail was addressed to a certain "Dear Albert of Lonmin".

Mpofu said Ramaphosa had called for action to deal with the "criminals, whose crime was to seek a wage increase".

The inquiry, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin platinum's operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, last year.

The police shot dead 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, wounded 70, and arrested 250 on 16 August 2012. In the preceding week, 10 people including two policemen and two security guards, were killed.

The commission resumes on Thursday.

Read more on:    amcu  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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