Deleted Marikana records haunt Lonmin

Pretoria - Complete Lonmin records of the August 2012 Marikana shootings were unearthed by Farlam Commission of Inquiry evidence leaders' own investigations, the inquiry heard on Thursday.

"Had it not been for two processes instigated and initiated by evidence leaders, this version [of the Lonmin occurrence book] would not have been before the commission," said evidence leader Kameshni Pillay.

"Exhibit XX2.10 is the document that Lonmin put forward as the occurrence book. This was the OB that this commission was working with for a while until we requested the hard drive of Colonel Duncan Scott and discovered the other occurrence book late last year."

She was cross-examining former Lonmin group mining emergency and security manager Graeme Sinclair at the inquiry's public hearings in Pretoria.

Lieutenant Colonel Scott of the police special task force was in charge of drawing up the intervention plan to manage the strike-related violence at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, in August 2012.

"Until August last year, the version which this commission was working with was the version with significant deletions. Those deletions were made at your instance," said Pillay.

Sinclair said he did not want to comment on what was given, or not given, to the inquiry.

"Whatever I was ever asked for was certainly always made available. For me to comment on that, it would be incorrect of me," he said.

On Tuesday, evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson said according to one of the versions Lonmin security guards fired rubber bullets when striking miners approached National Union of Mineworkers members on 11 August 2012.

Chaskalson asked Lonmin security risk manager Dirk Botes if he knew why such entries about the shootings were removed from Lonmin's version given to the inquiry.

Botes said he was in the dark regarding this.

‘A reduced version’

On Thursday, Pillay said it was strange that the SA Police Service was given complete versions of the Lonmin occurrence book, as discovered on Scott's laptop hard drive, while the commission was given a "reduced version which contains deletions made at your instance".

Sinclair responded: "This is a public document and I was very careful of what was in the document. Once it had been given to the police, I had to be careful that we would not jeopardise their investigations."

Commission chair retired Judge Ian Farlam responded: "We, as a commission, required full disclosure. It was not enough for us to rely on the police. You had a duty to make full disclosure. Can you justify your conduct?

"Why was the complete logbook withheld, even to your legal team? You have been asked, how come there was a full disclosure to police and there appears to be no full disclosure to your legal team and us?"

Sinclair said he believed he had disclosed all evidence required from him.

"I believe that anything that was required was correctly tabled. I didn't go into check lists to say to myself, have I forgotten anything? I did not look at the versions of the log sheets," he said.

"If it was not given [to the Lonmin legal team] there was no such intention from me. I might not have remembered to tell them. Anything I did, I certainly shared when I was required to do so."

Pillay said the deleted information related to shooting incidents involving Lonmin security guards firing at protesters on several days in August 2012.

Cleaning up the documents

Sinclair said he instructed his personal assistant to "clean up" the documents before they were used in "public".

"I think she told herself, 'this is Graeme's instruction, let me take it out'. Did I ask her what exactly she deleted? No, I didn't. Did I go back and check? No, I didn't," said Sinclair.

The commission 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 another 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.