Lonmin: Marikana strike was uncharacteristic

2014-09-01 17:34
Strikers in Marikana (File, Beeld)

Strikers in Marikana (File, Beeld)

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

Pretoria - Lonmin mine security had not expected protesting miners at Marikana in the North West to gather and strike on 12 August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

"Never had it happened that strikers would gather on a Sunday and have a go at the property. Previously, the strikers would rest and resume their action on a Monday," Lonmin mining security manager Henry Mntunaye Blou said.

"Up to that point, my thinking was that the strikers, as they were gathering, would just have a dance to show force and would disperse."

Blou was cross-examined by Karel Tip, for the National Union of Mineworkers, at the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria.

‘We were caught by surprise’

"We already know that by 10 August [2012] you and Mr Sinclair registered that this was an unusually large number of strikers and that their mood was unusually threatening," said Tip.

"Didn't you have to displace your views about what happened in the past? Should you have anticipated the worst? Isn't that your duty and what scenario planning is about?"

Blou responded: "We were caught by surprise. We were caught unawares. We never anticipated that Lonmin employees would be armed on a Sunday."

Commission chairperson retired judge Ian Farlam said Blou was not answering the question.

Tip said if Blou realised that the protesters' behaviour was uncharacteristic, the security should have implemented special measures for the "uncharted territory".

Blou responded: "We should have done that. On Friday when the strikers were dispersing, we were walking among them. On Saturday, after the attack at Wonderkop, our teams were also walking in and among the strikers."

"On Sunday morning, we were still of the view that we had a good rapport and that the strikers would listen and again listen to us as has been history. I believe we should have taken a different view, we did not."

70+ people wounded

Lonmin guards, Frans Mabelani and Hassan Fundi were killed during a confrontation with the strikers on 12 August, a Sunday. In that week, eight other people - two policemen and mineworkers - were killed in unrest related to the strike.

The commission, chaired by Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed during the strike-related unrest in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police on 16 August 2012.

Over 70 people were wounded and over 200 were arrested. Police were apparently trying to disperse them.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  police  |  marikana inquiry  |  mining unrest

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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.


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
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 24.com 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.