Mine protesters: We're treated like rascals

2012-11-09 11:48

Rustenburg - Protesting mineworkers at Lonmin’s platinum operation in Marikana, North West, claimed they were treated like "rascals" by the mine's management, the Farlam Commission heard on Friday.

Video footage captured by members of the SA Police Service on August 16, hours before 34 people were shot, showed protest leaders addressing miners and expressing dissatisfaction with the way in which they were striking.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Scott said the police were on the scene with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa.

The police wanted Mathunjwa to convince the thousands of protesters to surrender their weapons.

On August 15, the protesters chased away National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders, opting to instead negotiate with the newly-established Amcu.

Protesters: We would rather die

Mathunjwa spoke to the protesters, promising that he would return to the hill where they had gathered to give them feedback about their wage demands at 09:00 on August 16.

In the footage, most of the protesting workers told Mathunjwa that they would rather die than leave the place they occupied at the koppie.

"Every mineworker is a soldier, prepared to die at any time. They [management] are treating us like rascals, we want them to come and meet us here," said a protester.

"They are bringing us documents. We are not educated. We are prepared to die on this mountain," another said through a megaphone.

One protest leader said: "Those policemen brought here from different place[s], we will finish them here. They will not be able to get back into the hippo [Nyala]. They [police] should bring us that umlungu ["white person", referring to mine bosses].

The video showed thousands of protesters sitting down, singing and raising weapons including pangas, knobkerries and spears. Most of the men were clad in blankets.

Six-point intervention plan

On Thursday, Scott outlined the police deployment plan of August 16 for the commission, which is chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam.

He told the commission that the police’s plan for that day included sending 630 police officers to the troubled region.

Scott gave details of the massive number of weapons and resources used in the roll-out of the police's second stage of a six-point intervention plan.

Later on August 16, 34 miners were killed when police opened fire on them.

An account of violence

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, had been killed in strike-related violence the preceding week.

Another policeman, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Visser, narrated the events which took place from August 13 to 15.

Visser gave an account of the violence and murder committed, allegedly by protesters.

He showed the commission photos of the bodies of two police officers, and other mineworkers, including a supervisor, who were hacked to death, allegedly by the protesters.

  • acm.munro - 2012-11-09 11:56

    Did the miners think they were law abiding, striking illegally, carrying weapons?

      claudia.meads - 2012-11-09 12:12

      Indeed - somehow justifying deadly violence by saying, "...Management are treating us(them) like rascals..." Well.., guess what - nobody forces anybody to work anywhere (not yet at least). You have absolute freedom of choice to go and work somewhere else - eg in Zimbabwe, where the best paid miner earns R1750/month; and they do not strike (and as such storm the police with deadly weapons)...

      burningdogz - 2012-11-09 12:37

      So they hacked police officers and anyone else who got in their way to death using the traditional weapons they were wielding. They threatened police stating their intention to kill them all. They refused to look at the documents they were given by the company saying they were not educated enough to understand the documents (on a side note, is that not why you are represented by a union? Should the unions not explain the documentation to their members?). They prepared for battle with traditional sangamos.They called the mine management umlungi (which is a racist term and in itself. an act worthy of a disciplinary hearing under normal circumstances. Refused to disarm and disband. Stormed police.... These protestors basicly declared war and attacked, and now the police are under scrutiny?

  • Jeremy - 2012-11-09 11:59

    Well, basically, the miners were "rascals" and much worse. It was an illegal strike, they were armed and dangerous - and threatening violence against mine bosses and police. Does being "uneducated" give them the right to do all that? That said, the miners certainly didn't deserve to be mown down by the police. If the cops had been just halfway trained and equipped to handle this situation, they would have had full body armour and shields and been armed with teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets. Instead they opened fire with live ammunition on miners armed mainly with pangas and knobkerries in something reminiscent of Sharpville 50 years ago. Some things never change!

      Jaap - 2012-11-09 13:14

      Jeremy, you are really making serious allegations against the Police that were attacked on that day. I trust that you have been in such a situation in your life en devours, from their your superior knowledge of this critical and life threatening situation. Am I correct in assuming that you are sufficiently educated in Police law and tactics to make such a comment and serious judgement regarding their training and actions?

      Jeremy - 2012-11-09 13:49

      Jaap, I'm a journalist by training, I read widely and I try to understand something before I comment on it. Are you suggesting the cops SHOULD have opened fire with live ammunition? Why do you think a commission of inquiry is investigating the whole tragedy right now?

      Jaap - 2012-11-09 15:03

      Jeremy, my opinion is besides the point. The commission is appointed to establish what actually happened and it is early days to make a judgement like you did. They are trashing out the facts and will hopefully come to a valid conclusion based on facts and not on opinion based on bias perhaps? It is always easy to criticize when the action has passed and you were not personally involved and was not part of the decision making. Having said that, every life lost remains a Tragedy and where ever possible should be avoided.

      alastair.newman.52 - 2012-11-10 00:02

      Jaap. You strike me as being a coward. You attack someone for an opinion, then defer expressing yours when asked. The question is simple. "Are you suggesting the cops SHOULD have opened fire with live ammunition" I'll express my opinion. NO, the police should never have opened fire with live ammunition. EVER! They had a simple facility of negotiation available to them. They had it for 5 days before the incident AND NEVER USED IT! They had guns and used them. IN THIS COUNTRY, THE POLICE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AN INSTRUMENT FOR POLITICAL AND COMMERCIAL POWER If the police had had their way prior to 1994, there would have been war. It is an open secret that from a control point of view it was the ARMY who ensured there was no war in this country because many of the troopies in the townships refused to treat people in the same way that the police were were treating people. ASk your buddies, they'll confirm this! THE SAPS have NEVER been an instrument to peace in this country. They have more blood on their hands than any other organisation in the history of this country. ADN THAT HASN"T CHANGED SINCE '94 EITHER! THEY DON'T PROTECT, THEY PARTICIPATE!

  • marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-09 12:00

    The only good rascal is a dead rascal.

  • yrhonour.honour - 2012-11-09 12:01

    Rascals? - Tw#ts more like it!

      steve.gibson.146612 - 2012-11-09 12:12

      Anarchists/Murderers would be more appropriate.

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-11-09 12:56

      here's a rumble in the middle of the jungle ???????????????????????????????????? We pick the fruit from the magical tree And we take it to the factory A sqeesh, squash a-bubblee-boo Rascals make the fruitiest chew And the flavour never stops, O-yeh! ???????????????????????????? See? Now that's a rascal..... Maybe they chopped the fruit with panga's.......very easy to get confused when you chase the rabbit down the rabbit hole....... ;-)

  • kenpeg.dawson - 2012-11-09 12:04

    Shame really, after what you did you are lucky to be treated at all. Go home to your tribal trust lands and protest like that to your chief and see what will happen to your sorry ass.

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-11-09 12:04

    You act like a Rascal, expect to be treated like a Rascal.

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-11-09 12:13

    Short and sweet "bugger the mine workers" they are trying to hold the country at ransom.

      marc.ross.965 - 2012-11-09 12:33

      Look at the picture. Looks like they were trying to bugger each other. KY is the new muti.

  • arm.witmens - 2012-11-09 12:16

    You arent are lowlife murdering criminals. There should have been more of you shot you bastards.....

      siphamandla.tabata - 2012-11-09 12:42

      Say that again!!!

  • asdhasgd - 2012-11-09 12:21

    "They are bringing us documents. We are not educated. We are prepared to die on this mountain!" Oh so please explain why an uneducated person should earn MORE than a docter or a lawyer?? IDIOTS!!

  • asdhasgd - 2012-11-09 12:23

    I'm hoping one of the miners brings a rabbit to sacrifice...if you know what i mean xD

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-11-09 12:25

    In this country illegal is legal,carrying a weapon is seen as a peaceful protest and the worst is that powers that be continue to side with them,the poor hard done by,overworked savages!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-11-09 12:27

    Mmmmmmm. And why is that?

  • Eterni80 - 2012-11-09 12:28

    rascals ? this would apply to my 5 year old nephew who draws on the walls with crayons - this however doesn't require a call to the cops to sort out. what you creatures did was way beyond being rascals. and as far as being uneducated is concerned, this took a fair amount of planning and execution (yes I know poor choice of words, but it fits) which implies a basic level of intelligence being present before but not during the actual event. in SA the new way of thinking seems to have become I demand, Give me or else. tonight you can get drunk courtesy of your increase, but in a year or twos time, the ripples of your actions will hit the side of the SA pool and you will have nothing when your employer has to shut down..

  • brendan.vogt.1 - 2012-11-09 12:36

    "Thats because you behave like Rascals !!!!!!!!"

  • cecilia.vanderwesthuizen.5 - 2012-11-09 12:39

    Its because you behave like rascals! If you behave like one you deserve to be treated like one.

  • Strikeback - 2012-11-09 12:40

    Miners can be happy to still have employment. The way you conducted yourselves, you deserve to be dismissed without the possibility of re-employment. Strikeback is of the opinion that people who give up the right to work should stand back and give someone else an opportunity. With an unemployment rate of 25%, your respect for employment is an insult to the people who can only dream about your positions. Protect yourself against employing the wrong person, it is damaging to the economy and your share price.

  • collet.letsoalo - 2012-11-09 12:48

    If it toyi- toyis like a rascal, threatens like a rascal, behaves like a rascal then it is 100% a rascal.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-11-09 12:56

    You aren't rascals? You could have fooled me!

  • catgirl1971 - 2012-11-09 13:25


  • peter.jefferies.90 - 2012-11-09 14:27

    They are bringing us documents. We are not educated. We are prepared to die on this mountain," another said through a megaphone. So why is this trial happening? They got what they wanted, they askedto be killed on the koppi and thats what happened!

  • sisie.indola - 2012-11-09 14:44

    You were treated as you should have been. You were illegal strikers, you were carrying tools of intimidation and menace - did you want the police to give you a foot massage while you were sitting on the hill top. You thought you were invincible - and yet some of you died (shame).

  • rory.n.price - 2012-11-09 17:13

    Have you ever thought that there is that slight possibility you act like rascals, mean how many non strikers have you killed so far, perhaps muti man giving you brains of cockroaches

  • phaldiemeyer - 2012-11-10 12:48

    treated like should've been treated like criminals because that's how you were behaving.

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