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Shabangu can’t account for Marikana statement

2014-08-26 12:47

Pretoria - Former mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu on Tuesday failed to account for a statement about the strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

According to the statement, issued by her spokeswoman on 15 August 2012, Shabangu was concerned about the unrest and planned to "engage with the minister of police".

However, Shabangu told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Pretoria that her spokeswoman was not at work that day as she had been off sick.

"I never said she should issue a statement," Shabangu said, adding that she had not even relayed information about her plans to contact then police minister Nathi Mthethwa.

She had only discussed this with now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who at the time had business interests in Lonmin.

"No one was there during the meeting with me and Mr Ramaphosa," Shabangu said.

"No one in the department knew what I was going to discuss with Ramaphosa."

Commission chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam, tried to find out from Shabangu where the spokesperson got the information from but did not receive an answer.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the strike-related unrest 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 on 16 August 2012. Over 70 were wounded and over 200 were arrested. Police were apparently trying to disperse them.

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

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