Marikana: ‘We are going to kill one another today’

2012-10-22 11:59

“We are going to kill one another today.”

These are the words that Mgcineni Noki, the man in the green blanket leading the Marikana strike, allegedly told a senior police officer before he and 33 other miners were shot dead on August 16.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, who is representing the police in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, which resumed in the Civic Centre this morning, told the sitting that police had made all efforts to end the strike peacefully.

Semenya said police made various attempts to get Lonmin, unions NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) and Amcu (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) to negotiate with the striking workers before the fateful events of August 16.

He said Lonmin had refused to meet the workers, saying it was not prepared to negotiate outside the bargaining regulations, and at some stage, the company also denied that the 3 000 men gathered on a hill in Wonderkop were their employees.

Semenya is leading evidence for the police in the commission, which is attended by police top brass including national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega.

The families of the deceased, who have been bused in from Eastern Cape, Lesotho and Swaziland are also present.

Semenya said shortly after Noki made the chilling statement to police, they had erected barbed wire to stop the protesters from crossing the police line.

But, he said, the protesters managed to break the barrier near a cattle kraal, where they were eventually fired upon with live ammunition – without any instructions – by members of the Tactital Response Unit who felt their lives and those of their colleagues were in danger as the men were charging at them with sharp objects and firearms.

Semenya said 16 of the protesters were killed in the confrontation near the cattle kraal, and two pistols, one which had been stolen from one of the police officers who were killed by the miners days earlier, were recovered on the scene.

Semenya said the protesters wore layers of clothing and covered themselves with blankets to protect themselves from rubber bullets.

The inquiry continues.

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