Koppie was unsafe for officials - lawyer

2013-05-15 13:20
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Rustenburg - It was not safe for Lonmin officials to approach striking miners gathered on a hill in Marikana last year, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

"It was unrealistic for Lonmin to be expected to go there... It was an unprotected, illegal strike and the strikers were defying a court order," Lonmin lawyer Schalk Burger said.

Striking mineworkers wanted wages of R12 500 a month, without any explanation of how they reached that amount, said Burger.

"There was also an existing wage agreement, which was to [be kept in place] until October 2013.

"They had already killed security guards and stolen their firearms."

It was believed the stolen weapons were at the hill where the miners were gathered, Burger said.


The wage impasse culminated in a clash between police and striking miners, during which 34 workers were shot dead on 16 August.

Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in strike-related violence the week before.

Burger made his remarks while cross-examining Major General Charl Annandale, who headed the police tactical response team during the unrest.

Annandale agreed it was not safe for Lonmin officials to go to the hill.

"Lonmin said there were methods to address grievances that should have been followed... They said they wouldn't go to the koppie, but wanted to sit around a table for discussions," said Annandale.

"I respected their decision."

The commission is holding public hearings in Rustenburg as part of its inquiry into the violence.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  schalk burger  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry

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