Wave of AMCU supporters at hearings

2012-11-28 13:40
The Farlam commission (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

The Farlam commission (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

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Rustenburg - The public gallery at the Farlam Commission's hearings on Wednesday was dominated by people wearing green T-shirts associated with trade union Amcu.

Family members of the dead mineworkers, mainly women, were also wearing the T-shirts of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Few people in the gallery wore the red regalia bearing the logos of the Congress of SA Trade Unions and its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Proceedings on Wednesday continued with the testimony of Joseph Mathunjwa, president of Amcu. He was led in giving evidence by his union's representative, advocate Timothy Bruinders SC.

‘First time meeting workers’

Video clips were played of events recorded on August 15 when Mathunjwa went to address the protesters gathered at a koppie (hill), near the Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West.

The clip shows debate between the Amcu delegation and police officers, with Mathunjwa insisting he did not want to be escorted by police to approach the crowd.

Police officers stated they were not allowed to let anyone approach the protesters without a police presence.

On Wednesday, Mathunjwa said he did not want to use the police vehicles, although he failed to convince the police officers.

"It was the first time I was meeting those workers. I wanted to present myself as a neutral person," he said.

Mathunjwa said approaching the workers with a police vehicle conveyed the message "those workers are not reasonable people".

NUM SG at hearings

The second clip shows Mathunjwa’s address to the crowd. He addressed the protesters from inside a Nyala armoured vehicle using a megaphone.

Mathunjwa was asked whether there was communication between him and the protesters after he delivered his speech.

"As far as I can remember, three (men) came forward. They responded to the message I had given them," said Mathunjwa.

NUM secretary general Frans Baleni attended Wednesday’s proceedings.

On August 16, police opened fire while trying to disarm and disperse protesting miners on the hill, killing 34 and wounding 78.

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

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  |  police  |  amcu  |  num  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining
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