Striking Marikana workers killed man for ‘stealing’ information

2013-03-11 14:51

Striking Marikana mine workers killed a man because they believed he was stealing information from them and sharing it with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Police lawyer Vuyani Ngalwana said during cross-examination of mine worker Mzoxolo Magidiwana at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that the man was killed behind the koppie where the group of more than 3 000 striking mine workers had set up base on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 16.

Ngalwana said a witness dubbed Mr X will testify that the day before the killing of the man, NUM shop steward Josiah Twala, a decision was taken by the striking workers that no one wearing the union’s red T-shirt would be welcome among them.

Ngalwana said a militant group among the striking workers, which was armed with dangerous weapons, together with a committee of leaders, had decided that all red T-shirts be burnt and that workers should dump the NUM and join the Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu).

The commission has previously heard arguments that the toxic collision between the two rival unions had led to the deaths of the 44 people who died during the violent strike by Lonmin rock-drill operators in August last year.

At least 34 of the victims were shot dead by police on August 16, while others, including two security guards and two police officers, were killed with sharp weapons and some burnt, allegedly by the strikers.

Ngalwana said Mr X, who is believed to have been part of the striking mine workers, will testify that the Makarapa group assaulted and killed a man who was believed to be going to work on the night of August 11, two days after they embarked on an unprotected strike.

Magidiwana claimed in his statement that police shot him at point blank and took photographs of him as he lay injured with cellphones while laughing.

But his testimony has raised eyebrows because the scene he’s referring to was one where there were teams of press and television journalists who were taking pictures and video footage.

Magidiwana claimed that he saw two journalists, one with dreadlocks and another a white man, flee from the scene after they were asked to leave by police.

He said the journalist with dreadlocks fell during the shooting, which made him believe he had died. Magidiwana said if the journalists he’s referring to were truthful, they could corroborate his evidence.

This was after commission chairperson retired Judge Ian Farlam asked if he believed the two journalists were taking pictures and if they could confirm his version of events if they were traced and brought before the commission.

Farlam was forced to step in after Magidiwana accused Ngalwana of representing “people you know are criminals” in reference to police.

Ngalwana has disputed Magidiwana’s evidence.

The hearing continues.

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