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Ramaphosa sold out for financial gain - Mpofu

2014-08-12 16:34

Pretoria - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should have addressed the causes of the August 2012 Marikana unrest before attempting to curb its consequences, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

"You have been negotiating conflicts for a long time, you know that you can't resolve a problem at the branches ignoring the root cause," said Dali Mpofu, for wounded and arrested Marikana miners.

"Surely, you don't expect anyone to believe that you, of all people, would ignore the root cause."

Ramaphosa said his attention was on addressing further deaths and stabilising the situation at Lonmin's mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West.

"You were simply assimilated into the way of thinking of the Lonmin management. You didn't play your role, using your skills to change their thinking," Mpofu said.

"To that extent, you sold out. What is worse is that you did this for financial gain at the expense of the lives of people whose lives you were meant to transform. It's like selling out for 30 pieces of silver."

Ramaphosa was a Lonmin non-executive director and a shareholder at the time of the Marikana shootings. He left his position at Lonmin in January last year, shortly after becoming deputy president of the ANC.

He said financial gain did not influence his intervention.

"I must tell you that Shanduka invested R300m into this company and that money was lost as early as 2011. It was a catastrophic financial loss for Shanduka," said Ramaphosa.

"Financial gain was not part of it. We didn't even expect any of the investment. We do not even think of beginning to recoup it. It is written off."

Investments

Mpofu said Ramaphosa had stayed in the business because he did not want to suffer further losses or thought he would recoup his investments.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana.

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 Tuesday, Mpofu said Ramaphosa used his political clout to influence then mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu to change her classification of the Marikana events.

"You know that you achieved that purely because of the political power that you wield and your partners at Lonmin were sending you to do so. You said they sent you speak to the minister because they knew you could.

"You knew that you wielded a considerable amount of political power which you wanted to use and transform to political pressure with the fast, instant outcome that it achieved."

Ramaphosa responded: "I just had access to her." SAPA

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