Ramaphosa: Marikana violence dastardly criminal
Pretoria - Violence during the 2012 Marikana miners protest was described as "dastardly criminal", the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.
This was the term used by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, then a non-executive director of Lonmin, in an e-mail to Lonmin colleague, marketing director Albert Jamieson on 15 August 2012.
"By that time, around eight people had been killed, including workers and police. I viewed this as criminal acts [because of] the description of how the people had been killed," Ramaphosa told the inquiry in Pretoria.
He was led in submitting evidence by his lawyer David Unterhalter.
Acts of criminality
"Much as I was not on the ground, as I got all these reports, I concluded that these were acts of criminality," said Ramaphosa.
He wrote in the e-mail that the Marikana incidents should not be characterised as a labour dispute.
"You said 'they are plainly and dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such'. Tell us why you used that language," said Unterhalter.
Ramaphosa responded: "I could not [find] a better way of describing it, when someone is killed and their body parts are then cut out. I couldn't find a better way of describing it because it was quite horrific."
Unterhalter asked Ramaphosa to explain why he said there needed to be "concomitant action to address the situation".
Ramaphosa said he wanted police to arrest the perpetrators of violence.
"I felt that this needed the police to take appropriate action to identify those involved in the acts [of criminality], and arrest them so they would not continue killing people in that brutal way."
Ramaphosa said he had spoken to then police minister Nathi Mthethwa regarding the unrest but did not "prescribe" the level of intervention required.
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, near Rustenburg in the North West, 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 August 16, 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.