Afrikaans sparks Marikana complaint

2013-11-22 19:08
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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

Pretoria - Some families of deceased Marikana mineworkers were prejudiced at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry as they did not understand Afrikaans, a lawyer said on Friday.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families, brought the complaint shortly after the inquiry resumed its public hearings on Friday.

It was prompted by the fact that police Brigadier Adriaan Calitz testified exclusively in Afrikaans.

"I did not have a problem with translation... I have been approached by the families from Lesotho, who are saying ‘because the brigadier is insisting on speaking in Afrikaans, which apparently is his Constitutional right, Sesotho has been eliminated completely," Ntsebeza said.

"There are three channels [of translation used at the commission] and the brigadier is speaking in Afrikaans, then there is a translation to English and another translation from English to IsiXhosa."

Some of the families had been prejudiced, contended Ntsebeza, saying five families had raised the complaint.

Commission chair, retired Judge Ian Farlam, then translated Calitz’s brief testimony.

"He was telling us about the experience he has had, which he referred to yesterday about a riotous incident. He particularly told us about an incident in May last year when there was a strike and there was disorder," Farlam said.

"Police ran out of bullets in the incident."

Farlam said perhaps arrangements would be made to cater for the Sotho-speaking families next week.

"We will see what we can do, if it’s possible to do something. [We may] provide for a third translation service just for those five people, I am not sure whether we can do that," he said.

"We may have to resort to translating the transcript to them when it becomes available."


Head of the evidence leaders, Geoff Budlender, said translators at the commission had complained that Calitz, apart from answering quickly to the questions, also spoke too quickly.

On Friday, some people in the auditorium were dressed in Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters party regalia.

In May, the commission heard that Calitz gave the order for police to "engage" the striking Marikana miners in August last year.

A video clip taken from a helicopter that Calitz was in during the police's dispersal operation at Marikana was played for the commission.

"Get out there and engage," Calitz is heard saying on the clip.

Calitz was one of the commanders assigned to the Marikana operation.

Another police officer, Major General Charl Annandale, who was under cross-examination at the time, confirmed Calitz's voice was audible in the clip.

"That was Papa one, Brigadier Calitz," said Annandale.

Response team

Annandale headed the police tactical response team during the wage-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West last year.

He said he was at the joint operations centre listening to the police radio when the instruction was given.

The three-member commission is holding public hearings in Centurion.

The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead on 16 August 2012 and 78 were wounded when police fired on them while trying to disperse and disarm a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policeman and two security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in August last year.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  eff  |  marikana inquiry

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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

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.