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​Marikana commission postpones Mr X's testimony

Gabi Falanga

Head commissioner Ian Farlam has granted the SAPS a postponement for Mr X's testimony to be heard on June 19 rather than June 9.

Farlam said he was granting the application 'not without considerable reluctance', given the time restraints that the commission faces having to finish its work by July 31. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Head commissioner, retired judge Ian Farlam, on Friday granted a postponement for the testimony of Mr X at the Marikana commission. The evidence of Mr X will now be heard from June 19, instead of June 9. 

On Thursday, the South African Police Service (SAPS) applied for a postponement on the basis that it needed more time to prepare the evidence and Mr X.

Farlam said he was granting the application “not without considerable reluctance”, given the time restraints that the commission faces having to finish its work by July 31. 

“It would not be fair to compel SAPS to lead Mr X’s evidence in chief on June 9 2014,” Farlam said. “I say this because the parties who wish to cross-examine him will have to give notice to SAPS of the documents and video clips, if there are any, to which they wish to refer, to enable the witness to acquaint himself with the material to be relied on before he commences his testimony.”

The judge also said he was aware that the witness was illiterate and all the material needed to be translated and read to him. Additionally, Mr X, who was one of the striking miners, is in witness protection, which limits the time available for consultations with him.

Mr X’s testimony will be interposed however by experts called by the South African Human Rights Commission and the Legal Resources Centre. Both parties on Thursday supported the SAPS application for the postponement, on the condition that their expert witnesses could still testify in the week of June 23 as arranged.

It is expected that Mr X’s testimony will shed light on the strike that took place at Marikana in August 2012. On August 16, 34 striking miners were shot and killed by police, and more than 70 were injured.

The commission resumes on Tuesday, where cross-examination of Captain Wayne Kidd will continue, and Lieutenant Colonel Kaizer Modiba will take the stand. Modiba was the operational commander of the National Intervention Unit (NIU) at what is known as scene two, and according to Farlam, his evidence will be of “great importance”.

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