Farlam inquiry returns to Marikana site

2014-09-30 12:38
A police officer sits in a casper outside the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

A police officer sits in a casper outside the Marikana mine in the North West. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Pretoria - The Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday visited areas where protesting Lonmin miners were shot in August 2012.

Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson led a large delegation of commissioners, lawyers, journalists, surviving miners and widows near the hill in Wonderkop, Marikana, North West.

A few of the miners wore red Economic Freedom Fighters T-shirts while some widows wore green Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) regalia.

Security

Compared to the previous inspection in loco, there were fewer miners and widows.

Numerous police officers accompanied the delegation. A few Nyala armoured personnel carriers were parked nearby.

The previous inspection, on 8 September, was terminated due to security concerns. Chaos erupted when a woman wearing a red National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) T-shirt joined the inspection. Miners threatened her, shouting obscenities.

The area has been marked by rivalry between the NUM and Amcu. Amcu replaced the NUM as the dominant union at Lonmin's platinum mining operations during the 2012 strike.

Commission chairman retired judge Ian Farlam intervened, telling the miners to "cut the nonsense", but his calls went unheeded.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police on 16 August.

More than 70 people were wounded and more than 200 were arrested. The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Earlier this month, Farlam said Tuesday's inspection would focus only on areas linked to the August 16 shootings.

Evidence phase concluded

On Monday the phase of receiving evidence from witnesses was concluded.

"This brings the evidentiary aspect of the commission to a conclusion. We will hear arguments on dates that have been communicated to the parties informally," Farlam said at the commission's hearings in Pretoria.

He said the dates for arguments would be made public.

In June, President Jacob Zuma extended the inquiry to 30 September. The inquiry held initial public hearings in October 2012.

Read more on:    amcu  |  num  |  ian farlam  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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