Zokwana wasn't listening - Marikana survivor

Pretoria - Former NUM president Senzeni Zokwana was not prepared to listen when he spoke to protesting Marikana miners on 15 August 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Monday.

"He arrived at the koppie in a police vehicle. They came near and stood in front of us. He said he wanted to address [the protesters] through a loudspeaker from inside the vehicle," Lonmin mineworker Shadrack Zandisile Mtshamba said at the commission's hearings in Pretoria.

"He said we needed to go back to work. The workers said they would not return to work before getting a response from the employer. He didn't want to listen and the workers also adopted the same attitude."

Zokwana, now agriculture, forestry, and fisheries minister, was in a police Nyala vehicle when he addressed the protesters at a hill in Marikana, near Rustenburg in the North West.

The protesters insisted Zokwana should leave the vehicle and speak to them. The then National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president refused and was taken away by the police.

Moments later, Joseph Mathunjwa, leader of the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, arrived at the hill. He was also in a Nyala.

"The workers requested him to come out of the Nyala. He explained to us that the police had told him not to exit the vehicle. He said we should return to work and he would talk to Lonmin management," said Mtshamba.

Returning to the hill

Since the sun was setting, Mtshamba said Mathunjwa was asked to return to the hill the following day.

Like the majority of protesters, he left the hill at night and returned in the morning on 16 August, 2012.

"The place was full, compared to previous days. Everybody wanted to hear what Mathunjwa was going to tell us. We hoped that things would be getting better," he said.

"We were expecting a raise in the wages. On that day, we saw numerous police officers also converging at the mountain. They had different kinds of weapons," he said.

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 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.

criticallyhonest 2014/08/18 01:42:44 PM
When did the focus switch from trying to understand what happened to trying to find excuses for the barbaric behaviour of the mob? If the outcome of this hearing does not criticize and find culpability in the mob's behaviour, but only censures the police and mine management it will simply encourage more lawlessness and mob rule. Surely it is time for fair evaluation and even-handedness rather than appeasement?
Peter James Cock 2014/08/18 01:52:37 PM
It has been 2 years since then and every body is focusing on the dead miners. Where is the rememberance for the 10 people killed BY THE MINERS. Are they forgotten, Do they mean nothing to enyone? Is anything being done about revenge for them and their families as well? Has the temperament of the police been taken into account because THEIR COLLEAGUES were horribly butchered - not just shot? DO NOT FORGET THEM It was the miners who started it, the police just finished it
Zuma Etolls 2014/08/18 02:17:53 PM
34 armed men attack the police and get shot dead and we have a huge commission of enquiry. 4000 food producing, law abiding farmers get murdered and the "government" doesn't bat an eyelid.
Angelo De Albuquerque 2014/08/18 02:52:04 PM
I would not come out of a Nyala either...This situation was already volatile and miners were out and ready to kill and employer on the other hand would not barge to the bullying tactics used to negotiate. This Marikana thing was just Destiny for both parties . I really don't see if there's a party to blame but situation was already out of hand
Erick Gcilitshana 2014/08/18 04:45:00 PM
i think the survivor is right on his views but there are other views that there were intentions to kill Zokwana and the song that was sang was of killing Zokwana and killing NUM.i doubt if that was inocent song taking into account the testimony by Mr X.