AS IT HAPPENED: Lonmin exec: No time to consider increases

2014-07-23 12:40

Lonmin executive Michael da Costa testified at Farlam Commission of Inquiry. Get highlights here.


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Last Updated at 15:00
23 Jul 14:56
Commission adjourns for tea. We're closing updates here. Keep following News24 for coverage though.

23 Jul 14:50
Burger done. Mpofu re-examines Da Costa.

23 Jul 14:49
Da Costa says the problem with the "faceless" miners wouldn't have been solved with a picture because they weren't represented.

23 Jul 14:48
Da Costa says it isn't typical for mines to negotiate wages with a group of workers in an unprotected strike.

23 Jul 14:24
Police advocate Semenya is finished. Schalk Burger for Lonmin will now re-examine.

23 Jul 14:19
Da Costa contradicts Mr X's evidence that 5 strikers met with Lonmin management.

23 Jul 14:16

Da Costa disagrees with Lonmin security evidence that strikers were "faceless".

He says he thinks "faceless" means Lonmin wasn't sure which union was representing the miners.

23 Jul 14:06
Da Costa says with hindsight, things are much clearer. If Lonmin managers had gone to the koppie, could have made situation worse.

23 Jul 14:05

The commission resumes.

Da Costa is still being questioned by Semenya. 

Semenya asks da Costa if the demand (that management go to the koppie) could not be met by police.

Da Costa says it wasn't expected of the police to end the strike. Only to deal with the unlawfulness.

23 Jul 13:57

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.

23 Jul 13:21

23 Jul 13:03

The executive says it didn't make sense to send an executive to address strikers in a nyala.

And with that they break for lunch.

23 Jul 12:51
Semenya puts it to Da Costa that miners on the koppie only wanted to talk. Da Costa says miners only wanted R12 500.

23 Jul 12:42
Da Costa admits that by mutual agreement between the union and the NUM, they could've re-opened wage negotiations.

23 Jul 12:39

Da Costa says before they had time to consider increases, the unprotected strike happened.

He says the wage increases by Impala put "a bit" of pressure on Lonmin.

23 Jul 12:35
Semenya asks why NUM and Lonmin didn't re-open negotiations despite recognising the legitimacy of the demand.

23 Jul 12:29
Budlender concludes. Adv Ishmael Semenya, for the police, will now cross-examine the Lonmin executive.

23 Jul 12:23
Da Costa says he was on standby for Lonmin management on 16 August, the day when 34 mineworkers were shot dead.

23 Jul 12:16
Inquiry resumes. Adv Geoff Budlender for evidence leaders now cross-examining Da Costa.

23 Jul 11:55
Commission adjourns for 15 minutes.

23 Jul 11:43

Mpofu says if Lonmin had been more flexible on labour issues, deaths might not have happened.

Lonmin legal counsel Schalk Burger says it's irrelevant to ask a lay witness about what caused Marikana deaths.

23 Jul 11:33
Da Costa says when Lonmin increased the allowance, they communicated this in early August and requested no illegal work stoppages.

23 Jul 11:27

Da Costa tells Mpofu he knew Impala had spoken to workers directly.

The Lonmin exec says the fact that there had been wage adjustments at other companies affected Lonmin's decisions.

23 Jul 11:24
Da Costa admits Lonmin was paying rock drill operators less than other companies in the platinum mining sector. Had closed it a bit by 10 August.

23 Jul 11:21
Da Costa repeats that he knew there was a differentiation in pay across the industry.

23 Jul 11:15

Mpofu asks Da Costa if he spoke to mineworkers to avoid unprotected strike, why didn't he speak to them after they went on strike.

Da Costa says Lonmin's decision was not to engage with the mineworkers as they didn't want to talk to people on an unprotected strike.

23 Jul 11:12

Da Costa says when the miners approached him it was after hours when their work shift had been completed.

But on 10 August, the mineworkers refused to go to work and Lonmin felt the wage issue had already been concluded.

Mpofu said that these differences are insignificant. Da Costa disagrees, tweets reporter Gabi Falanga.

23 Jul 11:06
Da Costa says there were quite a few differences in the way he was approached by mineworkers and the way they approached management.

23 Jul 11:01
In an effort to avoid disaster, Da Costa escalated the issue to management.

23 Jul 10:59
Da Costa says he tried to engage miners until he realised it was an wage issue that was bigger than him.

23 Jul 10:53
The commission resumes. Da Costa is still being cross-examined by Mpofu.

23 Jul 10:29
And tea break.

23 Jul 10:24
Mpofu asks da Costa about his time as a manager - he says in 25 years he has seen his fair share of industrial issues.

23 Jul 10:10
Da Costa says violence started around the strike on the 11th August 2012.

23 Jul 10:05
Mpofu questioning da Costa on his testimony that he was shocked that something which started calm ended in so much violence.

23 Jul 09:59
Mpofu is set to start cross-examining De Costa.

23 Jul 09:35

Michael da Costa has now been sworn in. He's being cross-examined by Adv Heidi Barnes for Amcu.

Da Costa was the vice president of Lonmin's Karee shaft at the time of the 2012 strike

23 Jul 09:28

Mpofu has confirmed that it was Bongani "Bhayi" Mehlonkomo who was gunned down on his way home from work yesterday evening.

He says the circumstances of Bhayi's death are still unclear.

23 Jul 09:27
Heidi Barnes, for Amcu, calls for this matter to be investigated.

23 Jul 09:24
Dali Mpofu says that his clients fear for their lives after the witness named by Mr X was killed.

23 Jul 09:10

The commission will start a little later after Tuesday's news that a man named by Mr X was killed.

The man, known as "Bhayi" was an Amcu Rowland shaft secretary.

23 Jul 09:01
Da Costa is set to start giving his evidence at 09:00. But often these things don't run on time...

23 Jul 08:57

A man accused by a police witness, Mr X, of being one of the people who killed a Lonmin security guard has been murdered.

Proceedings were postponed on Tuesday (yesterday) after Mr X fell ill, Sapa reports.

Mr X, who cannot be identified to protect his identity, had been testifying via video link from an undisclosed location. He says he fears for his life and is under police witness protection.

He claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin mineworkers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who participated in the killing of Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani on 12 August 2012.

23 Jul 08:47

Lonmin executive Michael da Costa is expected to give evidence at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria on Wednesday, Sapa reports.

In June he told the commission that Lonmin had "fallen behind" Impala Platinum in the wages paid to rock drillers in the months leading up to a violent confrontation at Marikana in 2012.

In June 2012, about 300 miners approached Da Costa, who was manager of Lonmin's Karee mine, and their representatives told him they wanted a basic salary of R12 500 for Karee’s rock drill operators.

"I pointed out that the increase was extremely high and unaffordable. They thought it was the number that would reward them for the work they do. They said it was a good number," Da Costa said at the time.

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