No Marikana massacre if Lonmin didn’t call us criminals – miner

2014-08-25 15:33

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The violence at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana occurred because mine bosses did not care, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard today.

“The cause of all that happened there is because of a lack of care from Lonmin and them calling us criminals,” mineworker Xolani Nzuza (27) told the inquiry’s public hearings in Pretoria.

He was one of the leaders in the strike-related unrest at the mine that resulted in the deaths of 44 people in August 2012

“Had they not called us criminals, this would have not happened.”

Nzuza said they were told Lonmin had told police and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa that they were “faceless criminals”.

Asked what would have happened had Lonmin addressed them, Nzuza said: “If Lonmin had come to speak to us, we would have gone back to work.”

Nzuza was being led in delivering his evidence in chief by Dali Mpofu, for the miners arrested and injured during the unrest.

The commission, sitting in Centurion, was investigating the deaths of 44 people during the strike. Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police.

More than 70 were wounded and more than 200 were arrested on August 16 2012. Police were apparently trying to disperse them.

In the preceding week 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Earlier, the court heard there were affidavits from three witnesses, who claimed police shot them as they tried to surrender.

Mpofu said the statements would corroborate the evidence of Shadrack Zandisile Mtshamba. The Lonmin miner previously testified that police shot some miners who had been hiding and had decided to give themselves up.

Ishmael Semenya, for the police, today disputed the affidavits.

He argued whether the three miners would be called to testify against the police at the commission.

Mpofu said the witnesses could be interviewed by evidence leaders and their injuries examined.

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