Marikana miner testifies about traumatic call

Pretoria - The mineworker who called Bishop Johannes Seoka to say his colleagues were being killed at Marikana testified at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday.

Xolani Nzuza, one of the leaders of the strike at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, North West, in August 2012, told the commission about the call.

"I said to him, 'you came here and immediately when you leave, we are being killed'," Nzuza testified in Pretoria.

"I could not hear him properly because of the gunshots that were being fired."

'I ran'

He told the commission that from his location on top of the hill he could see what was happening.

"When I realised people had fallen, I ran," Nzuza said.

Nzuza was being led in delivering his evidence-in-chief by Dali Mpofu, for the miners wounded and arrested during the unrest.

Testifying at the commission in November, Seoka said he received a call on 16 August 2012, when police shot at mineworkers.

"The phone rang and a voice... in Xhosa said: 'Bishop, where are you? We are being killed'," Seoka said at the time.

Gunshots and screams

The bishop said he could hear gunshots and screams before the call was cut.

"[The call] was sufficient to keep me awake for several nights," Seoka said.

The commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the strike-related unrest at Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police on August 16. Over 70 people were wounded and over 200 arrested. Police were apparently trying to disperse and disarm them.

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