Union had no control of strikers

2013-05-07 17:39
Joseph Mathunjwa (Picture: Beeld)

Joseph Mathunjwa (Picture: Beeld)

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Rustenburg - Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa had no control over striking Lonmin mineworkers, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

"It was clear that Mathunjwa had no control of the situation," said Major General Charl Annandale, who headed the police's tactical operations team in Marikana.

He was being cross-examined by Dali Mpofu, for the miners who were arrested and injured when police opened fire, killing 34 of their colleagues, while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.

Mpofu asked Annandale whether he was aware that some of the miners gathered at the hill were there to hear Mathunjwa speak.

"Some were on the koppie [hill] to get feedback from Mathunjwa, as arranged the day before," said Mpofu.

He criticised the police for failing to wait for Mathunjwa to give them feedback after addressing them.

Photographs presented as evidence show the police putting up barbed wire barely three minutes after Mathunjwa left the hill at 15:40.

In some of the photographs miners are seen making their way from the hill to their homes nearby. The police opened fire on the miners around 16:00.

Annandale said while that could have been true, other miners could have been there for different reasons.

Mpofu asked Annandale what had changed on 16 August, as on previous days most of the striking mineworkers had dispersed and returned to their homes around 6pm.

Minutes from a police meeting held on the day of the shooting indicated that Annandale ordered the dispersal plan to be implemented at 15:30.

He said the situation had escalated.

"The media had also withdrawn itself out of fear for their lives. They relayed the information of a [change of attitude] by the miners to police official, [spokesperson Captain] Dennis Adriao," said Annandale.

The commission, sitting in Rustenburg, is chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam. It is investigating the events surrounding the 34 deaths, and those of 10 more people in strike-related violence the previous week.

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

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