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Family saw Marikana victim in newspaper

2014-08-13 14:45

Pretoria - The family of a Marikana mineworker killed in the August 2012 unrest initially identified him in pictures published in the Daily Sun newspaper, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

"He [John Ledingoane] had been working in the K4 engineering division of the Karee shaft of Lonmin mine for about five years. His last day of work was 11 August 2012. He then began attending meetings at the mountain," said Miriam Wilden of the Legal Resources Centre.

Protesting miners congregated on a hill at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, for several days prior to 16 August 2012.

"On 16 August 2012 John left the mountain to receive feedback. His family heard reports of the shootings from community members and in the media and feared for the worst," said Wilden.

"On 17 August 2012 the Daily Sun newspaper published photographs of the deceased. John's grandfather Shadrack Ledingoane recognised him from his clothing. The family went to the Phokeng police station and were directed to the mortuary."

Wilden said Ledingoane's family viewed 25 bodies lying on the mortuary floor but John was not among them.

His remains were later identified on 20 August 2012 at the Phokeng mortuary.

Ledingoane, 24, had a 2-year-old daughter, Tsenolo, at the time of his death.

"Now aged 4, Tsenolo cannot remember him but calls out his name when a car similar to the one he drove passes in the street," said Wilden.

"All Shadrack Ledingoane asks for is that the truth surrounding his grandson's passing be revealed. Almost two years in this commission, the family is not closer to understanding why John was killed."

She said post mortem reports indicated that Ledingoane was "probably immediately incapacitated" by a bullet from either an R4 or R5 rifle which hit his neck.

"He did not carry any weapons to the mountain. There are no weapons near or on him in the video and photographs taken at the scene by police," said Wilden.

"John does not fit the description of the SA Police Service of the militant, armed group which underwent the muti rituals. There was no evidence of scarification on his body."

‘Distressed’

Shadrack, leader of the Ledingoane family, did not attend Wilden's presentation to the commission.

"He is a disabled pensioner. He declined to attend today as he felt that he would be too distressed by this presentation," she said.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and over 250 arrested on 16 August 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

On Wednesday, the inquiry was receiving presentations from lawyers and families of the 44 deceased.

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