Marikana: Yes, strikers killed – Mpofu

2014-11-12 14:37

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Advocate Dali Mpofu has admitted that some of his clients were responsible for at least five of the deaths that occurred in Marikana in August 2012.

He told this to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry this morning as he started his closing argument in Centurion.

“We want to acknowledge that what happened ... to some of the strikers [killing of some strikers] was at the hands of some of the strikers,” he said.

He went on to argue that even Cyril Ramaphosa admitted that South Africa had a long history of striking, which was characterised by a lot of violence. But Lonmin failed in its responsibility in protecting those who did not want to strike.

“Non-strikers were vulnerable. Lonmin had a responsibility to do something even if [this meant it had] to close the shafts,” said Mpofu.

He admitted that a minority group felt it necessary to enforce the strike in any manner.

“It is even interesting to see how [Xolani] Nzuza joined the strike. He was on his way to work a night shift and he was stopped by strikers. He was asked questions and pelted with stones. When he went back home, he asked someone he was living with who was a [rock-drill operator]. That’s when he found out that there was a strike,” added Mpofu.

Farlam clarified that even though some of the murders could be placed at the door of the strikers, not all 3 000 strikers could be blamed.

Mpofu argued that the public opinion that “the striking miners had already killed 10 people, what did they expect” was wrong.

Mpofu argued that on August 13 the five fatalities – Semi Jokanisi, Thembelakhe Mati, Phumzile Sokhanyile, and warrant officers Sello Lepaaku and Tsietsi Monene, – would not have happened if the police had not fired tear gas and stun grenades.

“Five of the murders will be squarely at the doorstep of the police,” he said.

Mpofu continues with his final arguments at the commission.

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