Marikana sangoma shot dead

2013-03-25 11:31

The sangoma believed to have performed rituals on protesting Lonmin mine workers in Marikana, North West, has been gunned down, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard.

At the resumption of the public hearings in the Rustenburg Civic Centre, Advocate Ishmael Semenya, for the police, told retired Judge Ian Farlam that the man was shot yesterday.

“It was with a deep sense of shock to learn about the assassination of the sangoma (implicated) in the Marikana muti rituals. He was gunned down in the early hours of yesterday morning,” said Semenya today.

He said police had been making efforts to bring the sangoma to testify as a witness before the commission.

No further details were given but Farlam said the murder was “obviously a serious matter”.

Information on social networks indicated that the sangoma was killed at his home in Bizana, Eastern Cape.

The hearings today started off with the testimony of national police chief Riah Phiyega.

Last week Phiyega was accused of having rushed to issue a news statement to absolve police from the shootings at Marikana.

Evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga also suggested the statement was not well considered. Phiyega replied at the time: “I stand by my statement”.

She was testifying at the commission of inquiry into the shooting that claimed the lives of 34 miners.

“The impression I get is that you rushed to issue a press statement that absolved the police service from any wrongdoing, without knowing other versions,” Madlanga said.

“On a matter of such gravity – unprecedented as you call it – you should have taken time to consider what others that had knowledge of what had taken place had to say on the subject. Did you not consider that?”

Phiyega responded: “Our statement and the facts it had was well considered, and it was important to us as the SA Police Service to give an account as of the 17th of what we have observed had happened, and that is the statement we gave.”

Madlanga said only two of the officers who helped compile the statement were “on the ground” when the shooting took place.

Phiyega said the statement was compiled by commanders from the joint operations centre.

“To the best of my knowledge and information what we presented on the 17th were the facts,” Phiyega said.

She said if new facts were available it should first have been presented to her before she considered it.

On August 16 last year, 34 striking mine workers were shot dead and 78 were injured when the police opened fire near Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana.

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

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