Nothing wrong with Ramaphosa’s Marikana calls – lawyer

2014-11-13 14:12

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa did nothing wrong when he phoned former police minister Nathi Mthethwa and urged him to increase the police intervention at Marikana in August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry has heard.

“Our learned friends [lawyers for] the families sought to make a big issue from the fact that Minister Mthethwa was called by Mr Ramaphosa and Mr [Former National Union of Mineworkers president Senzeni] Zokwana on August 12 2012,” Lindi Nkosi-Thomas SC, for Mthethwa, said today in her closing arguments.

“They sought to interpret [the phone calls] as political interference. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Mr Ramaphosa calling the minister of police and saying ‘intervene because acts of criminality are taking place’.”

She said Mthethwa subsequently contacted top police officials and urged them to act, and that this was also above board.

“Can it be said that the minister overstepped the bright line between meddling and oversight? There is no evidence that suggests that such a line was breached,” said Nkosi-Thomas.

Mthethwa was simply exercising his oversight role over the police and did not interfere with operational matters.

In July, Dali Mpofu, for the arrested and wounded miners, contended that Ramaphosa had used Mthethwa to exert political pressure on the police to act against protesting Marikana miners.

He was cross-examining Mthethwa at the inquiry at the time.

Mthethwa testified that people, including Ramaphosa and Zokwana, phoned him, “raising concern about what was happening at Marikana”.

Ramaphosa was a nonexecutive director of Lonmin at the time.

He said the phone calls from Ramaphosa and Zokwana were on August 12 2012.

Mpofu submitted that the discussions between Ramaphosa, Mthethwa and North West police chief Lieutenant General Zukiswa Mbombo were illegal and against the constitutional framework.

However, Mthethwa said Mpofu’s assertions were a figment of his imagination.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, more than 70 were wounded, and another 250 were arrested on August 16 2012.

Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

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

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.