Witness denies being on Marikana koppie

2013-03-05 20:54
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Rustenburg - A miner wounded at Marikana on 16 August denied being on the koppie where protesters gathered the previous day, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Mzoxolo Magidiwana repeatedly said he could not recall being on the koppie in the days leading up to the 16 August shooting of 34 striking Lonmin workers.

Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, for the police, showed him a photograph he claimed was taken on the koppie on 16 August, and asked if he denied being in the picture.

Magidiwana said: "This person is that one you showed me [on Monday]... not me."

Magidiwana was unable to tell the commission where police were stationed when the group of miners he was with moved in the direction of the Nkaneng informal settlement.

After repeating the question many times, and requesting a tea adjournment for Magidiwana to consider it, Ngalwana gave up, saying it seemed insurmountable.

Ngalwana showed the commission photographs of two groups of protesters on the koppie on 16 August. He said one group was dressed in layers of clothing, and the other group was less warmly dressed.

The heavily dressed group, of which Ngalwana claimed Magidiwana was a part, also appeared to be carrying more weapons than the other group.

Ngalwana said around the time the photo was taken, the temperature at Marikana was more than 20°C.

Asked why the second group was wearing fewer clothes, Magidiwana replied: "If there at home he doesn't have anything to wear, that's not my baby."

The commission previously heard suggestions that some of the protesters dressed in layers of heavy clothing to protect themselves from rubber bullets.

We only wanted money

Earlier, Magidiwana was repeatedly asked why his group did not disperse from the police line, as many other protesters did. He acknowledged that police aerial photographs, taken of the scene on 16 August, showed no police blocking the main road to Nkaneng.

He also acknowledged that the picture showed others walking unimpeded on that road.

Asked why his group did not disperse along the same path, Magidiwana said: "The question you are asking is self-explanatory. We wanted to walk that way but found it blocked."

Ngalwana said: "I thought we agreed, no one was blocking that path."

After repeated the question a number of times, including in Xhosa, Ngalwana said: "I take it you are refusing to answer my question?"

Magidiwana said: "What do you want me to say?"

Looking again at the aerial photograph, Ngalwana asked why his group did not disperse like others visible in the picture.

"We were singing... we did nothing to anyone so we walked, not ran.

"We only wanted money... after that, the road was blocked, the only way we could run was blocked," Magidiwana said.

He raised his voice in frustration, and commission chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam, asked him to behave himself.

Magidiwana previously told the commission the police repeatedly shot and beat him on 16 August.

He was arrested for possession of a firearm, but could not be detained because of the severity of his injuries.

He has denied police claims that he carried a firearm and that he shot at a police Nyala vehicle.

The commission is holding hearings in Rustenburg, North West, as part of its inquiry into the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana last year.

On 16 August, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when the police opened fire while allegedly trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

Read more on:    ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest  |  marikana inquiry

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