Mthethwa, Ramaphosa to appear before Marikana commission

2014-07-03 16:14

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Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former police minister Nathi Mthethwa will testify before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry before the end of this month.

This was revealed by evidence leaders today after Mr X, the police’s star witness, had asked to be given time off to mourn for a family member.

Advocate Geoff Budlender said Mthethwa would appear before the commission on July 14 and Ramaphosa would follow on July 28.

Mr X told the commission, sitting in Centurion, that he had received a call late last night to inform him that a child in his family would be buried at 1pm today.

“I didn’t want to report this in the morning. I received the call last night. In our culture, unlike the white people, we need to mourn. I need to relax my brain and mourn the child,” he said.

This information was revealed after Mr X had asked for a break during cross-examination because he had a headache.

Evidence leader Budlender showed Mr X a picture of miners huddled in a circle, which was taken on August 15 2012.

Then he showed Mr X another photograph, which was taken a few minutes later, which showed some of the same miners huddled in a circle.

Mr X identified himself in the first photograph but could not say it was him in the next photograph.

“That cannot be the same man. You can see that his jeans are different. The other man’s pants are darker,” he said.

Budlender responded: “The man in the two photographs is the same. We say this because he is next to the same person in both photographs, he’s wearing blue jeans, a dark top and he’s wearing a beige blanket in both photographs. The photographs were taken minutes after each other. Are you saying these two men are different?”

Mr X then said he wasn’t sure if he was really in the photographs.

Earlier in the day, Budlender had argued that Mr X had not been part of the strike on August 13 when the strikers met police at the railway line. Two officers died that day.

Budlender argued that Mr X’s first statement, which he wrote in January last year, did not mention key events that took place that day. Mr X’s first statement stated that North West deputy provincial police commissioner, William Mpembe, had stood in front of the miners and started counting.

During the counting, police officers opened fire and some of the miners returned fire. Mr X’s second statement stated that Mpembe had finished counting and then the miners had stood up to leave.

“The second time I wrote the statement I was asked more questions about what happened. The first officer [in 2013] didn’t ask for everything. So I told him half-half,” said Mr X.

Aside from the changes in his statement, Budlender showed that Mr X could also be “inventing” the events of August 10 2012 – when the miners went to express their demands at the Lonmin offices.

He testified that there were five strikers who had been chosen and he was one of them. When Budlender asked him for the names he mentioned “Bhele, Booi and Bhayi” and said he could not remember the other two men.

“If you can’t remember the other two, that means you can’t remember yourself there,” said Budlender.

The commission has adjourned until July 14 when Mthethwa is expected to testify.

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