Union boss blames Lonmin for 'provocation'

2012-12-03 22:11
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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

Rustenburg - Lonmin mine's 16 August decision to renege on agreements was an act of provocation, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa said in Rustenburg on Monday.

Mathunjwa was being cross-examined at the Farlam Commission by advocate Karel Tip SC, representing the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Tip asked Mathunjwa why he had not "explicitly" told armed, striking mineworkers to leave the hill where they had gathered and return to work.

"You are talking about an environment which is not my constituency," Mathunjwa replied.

"It [the protest] was something which happened outside the labour structures. I wouldn't go there and say to the workers, 'stand up and go'."

Mathunjwa said he was not in control of the situation at the hill.

He said mine management had reneged on a commitment, made on 15 August, to address the workers' grievances if they disarmed and returned to work.

"I didn't even know whether I was safe or not. Remember, I had [previously] told the workers that certain things were going to happen tomorrow, now I had to tell them management was no longer there.

"After my addresses to the workers on 16 August, some left the koppie [hill]. I was facing a situation that is not just instigation, I was facing provocation.

If the company had not reneged on its promises, the workers would have dispersed," he said.

Tip said his remarks to workers showed little intention of encouraging them to disarm and disperse.

"You said to these workers, who were in an angry mood, 'there are some leaders who enjoy that there should be bloodshed'.

"Is that statement meant to encourage the protesters to lay down their weapons?" Tip asked.

"Statements of that kind, unfortunately there are more of them in your address, don't they increase the sense of being aggrieved?"

Mathunjwa replied: "It's not true. If I was saying to them 'don’t move from this mountain until R12 500 is in your pockets', then I would agree with you.

"Here I was talking of avoiding a massacre which later happened.

"If you look at my message holistically, I was saying to them leave [the hill], there is a day tomorrow to address your concerns. This was not a normal situation."

Tip said Mathunjwa’s address had done nothing to defuse the volatile situation.

Mathunjwa responded: "That is not correct. If it wasn’t for that address, maybe more than 34 would have been mowed down on that day. That was the best I could do as a mortal man.

"You should appreciate that this country has more that 48 million people, academics and all kinds of people. Today that massacre has to be put to one person, to say Joseph Mathunjwa you have failed. Poor Joseph Mathunjwa has to be crucified."

Police opened fire, killing 34 striking workers and wounding 78 while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on 16 August.

The three-member Farlam Commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, was established by President Jacob Zuma to probe into the violence and the deaths of 44 people in wage-related protests.

In August, Zuma said the commission would have four months to complete its work, and would have to submit its final report a month later.


Read more on:    lonmin  |  amcu  |  ian farlam  |  joseph mathunjwa  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

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


Marikana ANC office burnt down

A shack used an ANC branch office has been set alight at Nkaneng informal settlement in Wonderkop near Marikana.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille
  • Tuesday Century City - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Ratanga Road Southbound
    ROADWORKS - lane closure between Ocean Spirit Avenue and Century Boulevard (until mid April)
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 05:58 AM
    Road name: Spine Road
    ROAD CLOSED between Weltevreden Drive and Seafarer Drive due to roadworks (until mid April)
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Mother’s Day special offers!

Spoil mom with these awesome specials that will warm her heart. Shop now!

Twisp – the smoking alternative

Buy any 2 refills for R250 and save R149. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Mother’s Day specials on appliances

Browse our range of Mother’s Day appliances to spoil and pamper mom. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. 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

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be more sensitive today and can be influenced easily by the energies around you. Try not to be swayed too much by the...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.