'No point' in questioning Marikana witness

Pretoria - A lawyer for the SA Police Service on Wednesday abandoned his cross-examination of Xolani Nzuza, one of the strike leaders when mineworkers were shot dead in Marikana in 2012.

"There is no point," said Advocate Ishmael Semenya for the police, after Nzuza refused to answer many of his questions at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's hearings in Pretoria.

Amid numerous clashes with Semenya, Nzuza said he did not have all the answers and told the commission he would not give his input on evidence given by other witnesses.

Semenya said: "I have resisted the temptation to say that I am going to argue that your... posture of being difficult on every question has an adverse effect on your credibility."

At one point, Semenya asked Nzuza to tell the commission how the muti the miners allegedly used would have protected them from witchcraft.

"I did not come here to educate you about muti. I am here to testify," Nzuza replied.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people killed in Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police on 16 August 2012. Over 70 people were wounded and over 200 were arrested. Police were apparently trying to disperse and disarm them.

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

Nzuza told the commission that he knew nothing about the 10 killings. He said he was not present when any of them happened.

Earlier, he told the commission he would be happy if the killers were arrested.

‘Like a leader, but not’

While Nzuza in his own statements referred to himself as one of the strike leaders, he told Farlam on Wednesday: "I was just like a leader, but I was not a leader."

He was questioned about the killing at Marikana of Isaiah Twala, a striking mineworker killed after allegations that he was a spy.

The commission heard that before the murder, Twala confronted Nzuza and asked him where he knew him from.

"I told him I met him on the day that he told me to put my goggles on [while at work]. I refused and he said I should be fired," said Nzuza.

Semenya asked Nzuza whether he did not put Twala in danger by suggesting that he almost got him fired.

Nzuza said he knew of nothing that could have warranted Twala being killed.

Louis Gumbi, representing police union Popcru, began cross-examining Nzuza shortly before Wednesday's proceedings adjourned. He was expected to continue on Thursday.