‘Please kill me’

A Marikana mine worker begged police to kill him.

Convinced that he was going to die, he told the police officers who were laughing and taking pictures of the injured and dead mine workers who lay sprawled on the ground his name so that they could help his family identify his body.

But Mzoxolo Magidiwana did not die. Today, seven months after the shocking incident at Marikana on August 16, Magidiwana (24) took the stand at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry where he made the shocking allegations. He said police shot him in cold blood as he lay injured, writhing in pain.

Magidiwana, who joined the platinum mining company Lonmin in 2011, said he was among a group of mine workers who were fleeing to the Nkaneng informal settlement when they saw police setting up barbed wire in an attempt to disperse and disarm a group of about 3 000 striking workers.

Police have argued that Magidiwana’s group, which was armed with an assortment of sharp weapons and a firearm, was not running away but was instead charging at the officers with the aim of killing them.

He said he had gone to the koppie where the workers had gathered early on August 16 after he had heard from a passer-by that Association of Mining and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa was coming to address the workers.

Magidiwana said when the group emerged from a gap near a cattle kraal close to the squatter settlement, they were met by automatic gunfire from the police. He was hit on the left leg, stumbled and fell. He said the gunfire ceased for a while, but then policemen arrived at the scene and shot him at close range.

He was shot in the abdomen, left arm and another shot hit him in the testicles.

“I pleaded with the police to rather kill me and I told them my name so that they could help my relatives identify my body. One of the policemen said I was going to die anyway and there was no further need to finish me off. The policemen were busy laughing at us and taking pictures with their cellular phones. Others were kicking the bodies,” Magidiwana said through a statement read by his lawyer, Advocate Dali Mpofu.

He said police asked him questions about the whereabouts of guns that were taken from two warrant officers who were killed during a confrontation with the mine workers three days earlier.

They also asked him about the whereabouts of the inyanga who allegedly put the mine workers through rituals to make them invincible. Magidiwana said he lost consciousness when he was loaded onto an ambulance.

The hearing continues.

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