Susan Shabangu says Cyril Ramaphosa is lying about Marikana

2014-08-26 14:22

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Former mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu has accused deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa of lying in an email when he wrote that Shabangu had agreed with him that the unrest at platinum miner Lonmin in August 2012 was a “criminal act” and not just a labour dispute.

In extraordinary testimony, Shabangu today told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the killing of striking miners at Marikana that Ramaphosa – who was chairperson of the board at Lonmin at the time – was under pressure to show his colleagues that he was working to diffuse tensions at the mine.

“He [Ramaphosa] had to act in a way to show his colleagues he was working,” Shabangu said.

She was shown a transcript of Ramaphosa’s testimony to the commission two weeks ago.

In this, he repeated his assertion that he had persuaded Shabangu in a call on August 14 – two days before the massacre – that the situation had gone beyond being a labour dispute.

But Shabangu insisted that Ramaphosa had not been truthful in his testimony.

“It is not true that he ever influenced me, he never persuaded me. That can never happen in about four or five minutes to be persuaded,” she said of the phone conversation between herself and Ramaphosa.

However, Shabangu continuously contradicted herself before retired Judge Ian Farlam.

She first denied having spoken to Ramaphosa over the phone on August 14.

When she was shown Ramaphosa’s phone records on that day – which included a three-and-a-half minute call made to Shabangu – she admitted they had spoken that day. But she said they had not discussed the situation at Lonmin – they had only agreed to meet in Cape Town the next day at a meeting of a Cabinet committee dealing with the national planning commission.

Later this morning, Shabangu was asked why the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had not been invited to discussions between government and mining unions two days after the massacre.

Shabangu first said that the government had not heard of Amcu at the time of the meeting with the unions. But when she was shown copies of a statement she made in Parliament in which she mentions having known about the rivalry between Amcu and the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM) on the platinum belt as far back as August 9, she changed her testimony and said although she knew about Amcu, it was not a recognised union at the time.

Shabangu was again put in a corner when evidence leader Kameshni Pillay read from an article published by Business Day last May quoting Shabangu’s address at a NUM conference.

Asked who she was referring to when she told NUM members that their union was “dealing with forces determined to remove it from the face of the earth” and that the same forces were “trying to drive the ruling ANC from power”, she said she was referring to mining companies and not Amcu as alluded to by Pillay.

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