Marikana inquiry postponed

By Drum Digital
20 June 2014

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry was postponed on Friday because police witness Mr X fell sick while testifying.

Mr X complained that he felt unwell at around 11am, after he had testified for about two hours.

The witness had previously requested a break. When the commission resumed, he gave evidence briefly about the traditional medicine used on the miners by a sangoma in August 2012.

He then requested another break.

"Chairman, may I be granted permission to see my gogo [his word for traditional healer]. These people are working, using lot of muthi against me," said the secretive witness.

Police lawyer Tebogo Mathibedi, who was leading Mr X, then requested chairman of the commission, retired judge Ian Farlam, for a stand-down.

Mathibedi later told the commission that Mr X could not proceed on Friday.

The public hearings in Pretoria will resume on Monday.

Mr X's face was revealed for the first time at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria on Thursday.

Gasps and whispers were heard in the Tshwane municipal auditorium where the commission is holding public hearings into the 2012 Marikana shooting.

Families of slain mineworkers, mineworkers who survived the shooting, and relatives of killed mine security guards watched intently as the witness appeared on big screens. He may not be named in order to protect his identity.

On Friday, Farlam repeatedly warned the people in the auditorium to remain quiet during the hearings.

Earlier, Mr X told the inquiry that a sangoma hired by protesting Marikana miners burnt two live sheep in a night ritual.

The fat and blood which dripped from the burning sheep were made into a mixture dispensed to the miners at the koppie.

"It was said 'men will be made men'. We were told that incisions would be made on our bodies. Secrets of the mountain had to end there. We were given rules to follow," he said.

"We were told to abstain from sex for seven days, not to go where there is water, not to eat pork, sheep and fish. We were also told not to have golden teeth, necklaces, watches and coins."

Mr X claims he was one of the protesting Marikana miners who underwent traditional rituals.

The inquiry, led by Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on August 16, 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

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

Find Love!