Cops must halt Marikana linked murders - Farlam

2014-07-23 13:15
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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

Pretoria - Police must stop the murders of people linked to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, commission chairperson retired Judge Ian Farlam said in Pretoria on Wednesday.

"There are quite a number of deaths already in the Marikana saga. I would ask the police to redouble their efforts to ensure violence of this kind is not allowed to continue," he said at the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria.

"Certainly it's a matter of grave concern to us all, not just the commission, but I am sure the whole country."

Bongani "Bhayi" Mehlonkomo was shot dead in Marikana in North West on Tuesday evening.

Dali Mpofu, for mineworkers arrested and wounded during strike-related violence in Marikana in August 2012, told the commission his clients were petrified.

"There is growing concern among the people that I represent. Speculation in the community is that the assassination is connected to the mentioning of names by Mr X," Mpofu said.

"Their fear is that those who have been implicated falsely feel that their lives are under threat. They are not under protection and are vulnerable."

Mpofu said police witness, known only as "Mr X", had repeatedly mentioned Bhayi at the inquiry, implicating him in the August 2012 murders of two police officers and Lonmin security guards.

"My clients feel that, unlike Mr X, they are vulnerable, they are not protected by the authorities.

"To protect my clients' rights, Mr X's competency should have been ascertained before he went bandying their names about, which has been repeated in the media," Mpofu said.

Mr X may not be identified and is testifying via a remote video link from an undisclosed location. He is under witness protection.

Bhayi was a secretary of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at Lonmin's Roland Shaft in Marikana.

Alleged killers named

Under cross-examination last week, Mr X was asked by Takalani Masevhe, for the family of slain Warrant Officer Tsietsi Monene, to name the person who shot the policeman at close range.

After much hesitation, Mr X said those responsible were a protester Tholakele, popularly known as "Bhele", and Bongani, popularly known as "Bhayi". He said he did not know their surnames.

"I want to apologise because these men said I should not mention their names. I communicate with the men of Marikana. They must tell the truth," said Mr X.

Monene was one of two officers hacked and shot dead on 13 August 2012 after police clashed with protesting miners.

The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead by police apparently trying to disarm and disperse them on 16 August 2012. Seventy others were wounded and 250 arrested.

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

In August 2013, Farlam expressed concern about murders linked to witnesses at the inquiry.

"It is a matter of concern because a number of people connected to this commission have been assassinated. It is a matter which I am sure is receiving attention from the authorities," he said.

Farlam made the remarks after National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch chairperson William Setelele was shot dead at Marikana.

Setelele had testified at the inquiry in January and February this year.

Another NUM official, branch secretary Dalivuyo Bongo, was killed on 5 October 2012. He was shot six times at his home at the Wonderkop hostel complex.

At the time of Bongo's death, the NUM said he was set to present key information to the commission.

Amcu's potential key witness at the inquiry Mawethu Steve was killed in a tavern in May 2013 before he could testify. His death triggered suspected reprisal hits on two NUM members, twin brothers, the same evening.

Another Amcu leader's decomposed body was found near an Xstrata mine in Limpopo in June 2013. His hands and feet were tied.

The sangoma who apparently performed the rituals on the Marikana mineworkers was shot and killed in Bizana, Eastern Cape, in March 2013.

Alton Joja, 69, was at his home when several armed men confronted him, police said at the time.

Read more on:    police  |  ian farlam  |  dali mpofu  |  pretoria  |  crime  |  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.