Show me the miners' toilets - judge

2012-10-02 14:46
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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Marikana inquiry visits Lonmin

2012-10-02 09:09

Retired judge Ian Farlam met with a crime scene expert at Lonmin mine in Marikana to inspect the site where 34 miners were killed. Watch.WATCH

Rustenburg - The commission probing the shooting at Lonmin's platinum mine toured blocks of hostels inhabited by mineworkers on Tuesday.

Before the visit, Lonmin's Natasha Viljoen told commission chairperson Judge Ian Farlam and his team that the structures were "old-style".

"These buildings here are the old-style hostels. The occupants of the buildings are in, but we will ask them nicely to peep in," she told the commission.

"We are currently converting and we will take you to see the final products [new-style hostels]. These are single sex units," she said.

The judge entered a room with seven beds. Several workers milled about. Cooking utensils were stashed in one corner.

A low wall in the middle of the room divided four of the beds from the other three.

After making observations in the room, the judge asked to see the toilet.

"Now show me the ablution facilities. I want to see the toilets."

Lonmin officials led Farlam to another block of hostels to see the toilets.

The judge's entourage entered and inspected the facility, which several men were busy cleaning.

Farlam took a dirty, unused and damaged toilet roll dispenser and remarked, laughing: "This thing looks like it dispensed toilet paper ages ago."

Next to the hostels the commission visited a beer hall.

Informal settlements

Earlier, the commission inspected the place where two Lonmin security guards were burned to death.

Viljoen led Farlam and his team to a charred patch of ground under a tree, near the Andrew Saffy hospital.

"Two of our employees and two vehicles were burnt here, at this tree. These incidents happened on August 12," she said.

The commission is conducting a judicial inquiry into the shooting at the North West mine that left 34 people dead and 78 wounded on August 16 when police fired on striking workers.

The preceding week saw 10 people, including two security guards and two policemen, killed during protests at the Lonmin mine.

The commission, accompanied by several lawyers, observers and media, intended visiting other hostels and two informal settlements in the area.

Some of the lawyers representing the workers and their families asked that the commission also look at where Lonmin management lived in Mooinooi, about 10km from Marikana.

Read more on:    ian farlam  |  mafikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

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