Union boss grilled over Marikana evidence

2012-11-29 20:01
Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

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Rusatenburg - Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa was taken to task at the Farlam Commission on Thursday over alleged "untruths" in his evidence.

Ishmael Semenya SC, for the SA Police Service, was cross-examining Mathunjwa on his allegations that North West police chief Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo attended an ANC torch-lighting ceremony hours before the Marikana shooting.

"That evidence is untruthful. Evidence will be led to prove that she had gone to visit an injured police officer," said Semenya.

Mathunjwa replied: "I cannot dispute that. What I said was what we were told by General [William] Mpembe [North West deputy provincial police commissioner] on 16 August."

"If that fact is established, there is no way General Mpembe would have told you about the torch-lighting ceremony version," Semenya countered.

"Mpembe told us that she had gone to the ANC event. He even tried to call her whilst we waited at the [security] joint operations committee," Mathunjwa responded.

Semenya said it was also untrue that the Mathunjwa had been told that Mbombo had taken charge of the police operation at the Lonmin's platinum miners' strike in Marikana.

"I was told in the morning that General Mpembe was no longer in charge and General Mbombo was now in charge," said Mathunjwa.

Semenya also confronted Mathunjwa about his allegations that Mpembe saluted him on the evening of 15 August.

"He never saluted you. General Mpembe will deny that he ever saluted you," said Semenya.

Mathunjwa maintained that the general did so at a de-briefing meeting on 15 August.

A video clip was played which showed Mathunjwa addressing thousands of striking workers.

At the end, a protest leader takes the megaphone and addresses the crowd, saying: "If the police claim to have safety, they should go and apply that safety to the employer. We are not leaving this place unless we get what we want.

"Let them [police officers] go immediately. Those police brought here are going to remain here. They will not be able to get back into that hippo [Nyala armoured vehicle]. We will finish them here."

Semenya asked Mathunjwa why had not reprimanded the striker, and said the union leader was heard laughing at the remark.

Mathunjwa disputed this.

The cross-examination continues.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded on 16 August when the police opened fire on them while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

The commission was announced by President Jacob Zuma in August.

- SAPA

Read more on:    police  |  amcu  |  zukiswa mbombo  |  joseph mathunjwa  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest
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