Unions divided at Marikana hearings

2012-11-27 14:10
Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

Marikana inquiry (Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - The public gallery at the Farlam Commission's hearings was divided between people affiliated to competing unions on Tuesday.

One camp, which included the families of some of the deceased mine workers, wore green T-shirts associated with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

The other group wore red regalia branded with the logos of the Congress of SA Trade Unions and its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

During a brief adjournment, the Amcu supporters sat on benches outside the Rustenburg Civic Centre, where the hearings are being held.

The NUM supporters milled around, close to the benches. The slogan on some of their T-shirts read: "Hands off Cosatu, Hands off NUM."

Radio show

The inquiry is into the deaths of 44 workers in strike-related violence, and includes the deaths of 34 workers who were shot by the police near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, on 16 August.

On Tuesday, the commission was played a clip of an SAFM morning show on 15 August.

It featured NUM president Senzeni Zokwana, Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa and Lonmin executive Bernard Mokwena.

In the clip, Mokwena accused Mathunjwa of lying to the public, and denied contacting him in July to alert him to rumours of a strike by mineworkers.

By then, 10 people had been killed, including two policemen and two security guards, in strike-related violence.

Lying

In the clip, Zokwana described the killing of the Lonmin guards as being carried out "Amcu style". He said the slain guards had been deployed to protect the NUM's offices.

Mathunjwa responded: "He [Zokwana] is an adult. I cannot say he is lying. What he is saying is not correct. How did he identify them [the people who killed the guards]?"

The next day, police opened fire while tried to disperse protesting miners on a hill near the mine, killing 34 of them and wounding 78.

The commission into the violence and the 44 deaths was announced by President Jacob Zuma in August.
Zuma said the commission would complete its work within four months, and would have to submit its final report a month later.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  amcu  |  num  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  farlam inquiry  |  mining unrest
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