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Marikana killers must be arrested - miner

2014-08-27 14:02

Johannesburg - Those responsible for the murder of two security guards and two policemen during the August 2012 strike-related unrest at Marikana should be arrested, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Wednesday.

One of the leaders of the strike at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West, Xolani Nzuza, told the commission in Pretoria he felt "bad" about the deaths.

"I am hurt about security officials who were killed because they were in a place they were not meant to have been in," said Nzuza.

"I would be happy if the people who killed the security guards were arrested.

"If there is evidence about who killed the two police officers, they should also be arrested," Nzuza said.

A witness, known only as Mr X, who testified before the commission several weeks ago, said he was present when security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani were killed.

He said the strikers killed the guards, removed some body parts, and used their burnt remains in muti rituals.

The workers believed that the muti would make them strong and invincible against the police.

A police officer who led the Marikana operation testified last year about how his two colleagues, Tsietsi Monene and Sello Lepaku, were killed.

"I heard [teargas shooting]. I then realised that strikers had turned against police. It wasn't a very good scene," said Major General William Mpembe at the time. He was the deputy police commissioner of the North West.

"I saw Warrant Officer Monene being chopped and killed in front of me. I saw how officer Lepaku was killed," he said.

On Wednesday, Nzuza told the commission the police officers responsible for the deaths of 34 of his colleagues should also account.

"If the police were found to have done wrong, they should also be arrested," said Nzuza.

Some of the miners involved in the unrest were arrested and were now unemployed.

Charges dropped

Last week, the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate's court dropped the charges against 279 miners who were arrested during the violence.

Charges were dropped because the State would have been unable to prove their cases if the matter went to trial.

The accused had faced charges of public violence, illegal gathering, possession of dangerous weapons and intimidation.

Initially, they also faced charges related to murder but these were provisionally withdrawn by the court.

Nzuza said the dropped charges were evidence that people were arrested "for nothing".

"They were arrested and tortured and then there was no case against them after they attended the case for two years," he said.

"It makes me feel bad because now we can see that there was no truth in what they were arrested for," he said.

It was also hurtful to know that many of his colleagues died but had done nothing wrong, said Nzuza.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian 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.

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

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