Mineworker: Whites treated better at Lonmin

Pretoria - White employees at Lonmin mine got preferential treatment at the expense of their black counterparts, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

"There is still segregation in the mines based on race. I am an RDO [rockdrill operator] but there is no single white person who works as an RDO," Shadrack Zandisile Mtshamba told the commission in Pretoria.

"All white people are given positions like mine captains. Many white people joined the mine while we worked at Lonmin but they now have better positions."

He said the August 2012 protest at Marikana was inspired by a robust desire among black employees to be on par with their white counterparts.

"Lonmin should have spoken to workers instead of calling the police. They called the police to come and shoot the protesters. Now Lonmin should be giving something to the widows who lost loved ones," said Mtshamba.

Miners ‘mistreated in cells’

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 200 were 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.

Mtshamba was among the hundreds of arrested miners. The men faced charges including murder and attempted murder of 34 of their colleagues on 16 August. Following a public outcry the charges were provisionally withdrawn in September 2012.

Mtshamba said the detained miners were mistreated in police cells.

‘Why would we kill our colleagues?’

"Some people were taken to police cells while they were bleeding and their bodies were swollen. We were mistreated a lot. We were assaulted. We were just locked up.

"If our lawyers had not negotiated for us, we would have been in prison even now because those cases are still on. The police are walking freely, enjoying their lives," he said.

He insisted the miners did not kill their colleagues.

"We had been gathering at the koppie [hill] for a long time without killing each other. Why would we kill our colleagues?"

Without specifying, Mtshamba said even though charges like murder had been provisionally withdrawn, the miners were scheduled to be in court on Wednesday on charges related to the 16 August 2012, incidents.

Peter Jones 2014/08/18 07:03:19 PM
Here we go again
Lilian Looney 2014/08/18 07:04:08 PM
Pity this twerp didn't listen to that poor widow (who is black) on Cape Talk today. Her husband was murdered by the miners and had his organs removed sothat a sangoma could use them for muti. She pug the blame squarely on the miners for what happened. She said those killed by the miners are getting no help or justice. She said the killings of miners are continuing to this day by those lazy twerps that refuse to work and kill anybody that dares to take a different stance to theirs.
Jan Jantjies 2014/08/18 07:09:07 PM
Shadrack Zandisile Mtshamba is talking bull, people get into positions by means of knowledge and training. Do you have what is required Shadrack? I thought so . . . .
Johan Nothnagel 2014/08/18 07:16:18 PM
Whites treated better ? Well that's easy to answer - Stop Striking !!!!! And do what you're paid to do.
Sgananda Shukulase KaZokufa 2014/08/18 07:20:48 PM
I think the comission in the private sector should be established and probe all qualifications
Douglas Ross 2014/08/18 07:27:35 PM
Maybe it is because white people don't strike over everything and actually work hard to get to where they are. We don't expect handouts. And education also helps, so blame the ANC if you're not educated
Motofogo Mulilo 2014/08/18 07:27:51 PM
Its not only at Lonmin.
Otilia de Sousa 2014/08/18 07:30:08 PM
I am really getting very tired of this white on black nonsense. I was born white and I will die white but I refuse to apologise for being white.
Wentzel Coetzer 2014/08/18 07:30:15 PM
It is possibly because they don't waste time with stikes and want to work to look after the well-being of their families and not loose 1000's of rands to gain sents
Andre Jansen Van Vuuren 2014/08/18 07:30:27 PM
Maybe it's because they actually work!