Marikana: Medical tests to ascertain muti ritual scars

2013-03-06 13:50

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The highly contested issue of whether striking Marikana mine workers underwent muti rituals took a twist when police lawyers asked a witness to subject himself to a medical test.

This unfolded during proceedings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry today, when police lawyer Advocate Vuyani Ngalwana asked a survivor of the shooting if he would object to undergoing a medical test to determine the age of muti ritual scars on his body.

Mzoxolo Magidiwana, a survivor of the shooting in which 34 mine workers were killed by police on August 16, has denied that he was part of a group of mine workers who underwent muti rituals during the violent strike in which 44 people died in total.

Police are arguing that Magidiwana was part of a group of armed warriors calling itself Makarapa, which underwent secret muti rituals during the strike.

Ngalwana said police would lead evidence that the Makarapa underwent a ritual that would make them invisible, invincible and strong.

The group has been implicated in the brutal murder of two police officers, two security guards and three other workers who were stabbed, hacked, shot and some set alight.

Ngalwana said the rituals were the reason why the Makarapa group advanced towards the police line, which led to the shooting and killing of 16 of them, because they believed themselves to be too strong for the police. Ngalwana said the police would argue that the group charged at them.

Magidiwana has testified that he only joined the group of strikers on the morning of August 16, but the police have shown the commission video footage and photographs that place him at various scenes in earlier days during the strike.

Police have also indicated that a witness, dubbed “Mr X”, who was present during the sacred rituals on the night of August 11 and Monday August 13, would testify that Magidiwana was also present there.

The police are also arguing that Magidiwana was present at the scene of a confrontation between a group of armed strikers and police, which resulted in the deaths of two police officers whose service firearms and a R-5 rifle were taken by the strikers.

Ngalwana said police would argue that Magidiwana obtained one of the police firearms during the attack and it was found on him after he was shot on August 16.

He said Magidiwana was part of a group of five Makarapa who were appointed to confront the police if they stood in their way during the strike.

Magidiwana has disputed this evidence and grudgingly acceded to the medical examination, saying he would do it if his elders and lawyers were also present.

Ngalwana asked Magidiwana if he objected to provide police with the cellphone number he was using on August 13, to determine his whereabouts on the day.

The hearing continues.

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