Union boss quizzed about Marikana violence

2012-11-29 13:40
Joseph Mathunjwa (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

Joseph Mathunjwa (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

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


Rustenburg - Acts of violence, murder, and destruction of property were in contrast with the modus operandi of Amcu, union president Joseph Mathunjwa said on Thursday.

He made the remarks at the Farlam Commission, at the beginning of his cross-examination by advocate Ishmael Semenya SC, representing the police.

Semenya sought answers from Mathunjwa regarding his personal stance, and that of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), on a number of issues, including violence.

"As a leader, do you condemn unlawful damage of property? So when you see torched vehicles belonging to Lonmin mine, do you condemn such acts?" Semenya asked.

"I condemn unlawful damage to property, not only for Lonmin property, but anywhere where it happens. That is also the position of Amcu," Mathunjwa replied.

"As a leader, do you condemn protests? I take it that as a party you distance yourself from any armed protests," Semenya asked.

Video footage

Mathunjwa agreed.

Semenya screened a video, taken by the police on August 13.

The footage shows a group of armed protesters, heavily armed with weapons including pangas, spears and knobkerries.

There is a confrontation, with police, who demand that the strikers surrender their weapons. The group refuses, and goes on its way.

The video ends while the group is making its way to a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana. Police officers are seen pointing firearms at them.

There was another confrontation between police and the striking workers moments later. Two officers were hacked to death.


Mathunjwa was asked whether he had condemned these armed protests.

"It has to be known that this was not a strike called by Amcu. It was the workers’ strike," he said.

"I have never seen any document where you, as a leader, condemned that armed protest. Where did that happen?" Semenya asked.

"There are instances where I addressed the workers at the mountain," Mathunjwa replied.

"I am not sure you are not telling us you told the workers that you condemn the armed protests. You, as Mathunjwa, did you condemn this armed protest? Where did you do it?" Semenya asked.

"You may say that, but the message was clear: we are against any bloodshed," said Mathunjwa.

"On SAfm, [during an interview] we mentioned that we are against any form of violence... [and in] some letter I wrote to management and with the media briefing," he said.

Three-member commission

However, Semenya put it to him: "You have not been recorded anywhere saying you condemn armed protests in the media coverage you got. I want to know if you ever took a moment to tell your Amcu members that you condemn armed protests."

Mathunjwa responded: "We did that, like I have said before."

"Mr Mathunjwa, did you see the protesters in that video walking away in flagrant disregard of a lawful instruction by police to lay down their weapons? Are you prepared to condemn such actions to all Amcu members listening?" asked Semenya.

"I saw that there was a negotiation there between the police and the protesters. I don't have a problem [with condemning such protests]. I, Joseph Mathunjwa, condemn any form of armed protests," he said.
The cross-examination continues.

The three-member commission, which is led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is holding public hearings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre as part of a probe into the killing of 44 people during wage-related, violent strikes at Marikana, in North West.


Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  amcu  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining

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


An uncomfortable election

The latter few weeks of election 2014, have seen South Africans reeling from an assault on their comfort zone when it comes to voting, writes Daniel Silke


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
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

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. 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!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. 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!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! 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 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...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.