Lonmin denies claims of govt collusion

Johannesburg - Lonmin on Tuesday denied claims that it colluded with the police and the government in the days before the Marikana mine shooting.

"Lonmin's action to engage with appropriate authorities of the state was simply part of a process aimed at achieving normality," the company said in a statement.

"Lonmin is a mining company and is not responsible for law enforcement."

The platinum miner was responding to arguments heard on Tuesday at the Farlam inquiry, which is investigating the 16 August shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

The company said it wanted to communicate with the government to ensure it understood the company's view of the situation, to ensure a peaceful resolution of the matter.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the miners injured and arrested after the shooting, told the inquiry of an e-mail in which ANC heavyweight and Lonmin board member Cyril Ramaphosa strongly condemned the protests, described them as criminal acts and suggested "concomitant action".

"This [e-mail] was [sent] on 15 August at 14:58, exactly 24 hours before the people were mowed down on that mountain," said Mpofu.

"We have e-mails that were being exchanged between Lonmin management, government ministers [of mineral resources and the police], and at the centre is a gentleman called Cyril Ramaphosa," he said.

"He advanced that what was taking place were criminal acts and must be characterised as such."

Mpofu said the e-mail was addressed to a certain "dear Albert of Lonmin".

He said evidence would be led to discredit claims that the shootings were spontaneous acts committed in self-defence by police officers.

One of the causes of the Marikana tragedy was a "toxic collusion between the state and capital", he said.

"The main causes of the massacre are the SA Police Service [SAPS], other agencies of government, and Lonmin. The people I represent here seek the truth for themselves and their colleagues who passed away."

Mpofu described the actions of the police as "murder and extra-judicial killings".

The police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of strikers encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 and wounding 78 on 16 August.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and iron rods. They went on strike on 10 August, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

Within four days, 10 people had been killed, two of them policemen and two of them security guards.

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