No threats at Marikana, inquiry told

Pretoria - A leader during the Lonmin strike at Marikana in 2012 knew nothing about workers being threatened, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.

Xolani Nzuza, allegedly one of the strike's leaders, told the commission in Pretoria that on the week the strike started, stones were thrown at him as he walked to work for his night shift.

He returned home and joined the strike the next day. He however said he did not view that as a threat.

"Yes, I was not threatened. If a person threatens you, they come straight to you," said Nzuza, explaining that the people who threw stones at him could have simply been crooks.

Nzuza was under cross-examination by Ishmael Semenya SC, for the SA Police Service.

Throughout proceedings, Nzuza has been referred to as one of the leaders of the strike and attested to this in his statements.

He was believed to have been the second-in-command to Mgcineni "Mambush" Noki, who was killed in the unrest.

Nzuza said it was only at the commission that he heard about this position.

"I never referred to myself as such. I heard it during the testimony of Mr X," he said, referring to an anonymous witness who previously testified for the police at the commission.

Semenya continued to pose the question to Nzuza.

"I am unable to answer Mr Semenya's question because he looks at me as a fool by laughing at me," Nzuza said.

"I think you are actually very clever," Semenya replied.

Dali Mpofu, for the wounded and arrested miners, argued his clients' point with commission chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam.

Farlam reprimanded Mpofu and said his inputs amounted to him giving the answer to the witness.

During the discussion, Mpofu turned to evidence leader Geoff Budlender and told him to "shut up". A shocked Budlender told the commission he was simply advising Mpofu to stop interrupting the chairperson.

"So you respond by interrupting me?" Mpofu challenged Budlender.

Farlam called for calm and proceedings continued.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, near Rustenburg, 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 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 security guards, were killed.