Marikana: Mr X apologises to families of victims
In a strange turn of events, Mr X on Thursday apologised to the families of the people he claims he had a hand in killing in the days leading up to the Marikana massacre.
“I apologise for what happened there. There are children who are going to grow up without fathers, because we’ve killed their fathers for money. Money is not more important than life itself. I sincerely apologise,” said Mr X. His concerned expression was in stark contrast to his defiant attitude in earlier testimony.
In another peculiar twist to proceedings, Mr X became reluctant to mention the names of the other miners who were involved in the killings. He said that the miners who were attending the commission had threatened him, warning him not to say their names, by sending him a message through his family.
Mr X was eventually persuaded to use the names of the other miners after being reminded that he was testifying under oath.
Mr X, who was one of the striking miners at Marikana in August 2012, is testifying via video link from a remote location for his personal protection and was back on the stand on Thursday after being absent from proceedings for more than a week.
Evidence leader Geoff Budlender concluded his cross-examination of Mr X by telling him that his evidence was regarded as unreliable. “Parts of your evidence are contradictory, and parts simply make no sense at all. And so we’re going to submit to the commission that it’s simply not certain to know which parts of your evidence are the truth and which are not,” said Budlender.
He listed a number of Mr X’s claims that appear to be incorrect, lies or fabrications. “You’ve said that you were on the committee of five, when in fact you were not. You said you were on the committee of 15 when in fact you were not. You said you were present at the confrontation on the 13th [August] when in fact you were not.”
Budlender accused Mr X of inventing events that he had not mentioned in his February 2013 statement, to include them in his March 2014 statement.
Mr X’s explanation for this was that the police officer who took his original statement was not isiXhosa speaking and that they had difficulty understanding each other.
“We’re going to argue that your complaint about language is plainly an attempt to fabricate an explanation for the reason that some of what you said in your statement of February 2013 is plainly not correct,” Budlender told Mr X. “It may be that parts of what you’ve told the commission is the truth, the problem is that it’s impossible to determine what you actually saw and heard; which parts you’ve been told by other people.”
On Tuesday, Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represents the injured and arrested miners, informed the commission that he would be putting in an application on behalf of his clients to have Mr X testify in person inside the commission venue.
When Mpofu does submit the application, it will have to be in writing and directly to chairperson Ian Farlam to save time as the commission is operating on tight time limits to complete its work by the September 30 2014 deadline.
Mr X will continue testifying on Friday.