Marikana victim: I may never be able to father children

Retired judge Ian Farlam (centre) at the Farlam commission. (AFP)

Retired judge Ian Farlam (centre) at the Farlam commission. (AFP)

Mzoxolo Magidiwana (24) told the commission on Tuesday that even though he was not a rock drill operator, he joined the protest on August 16 to support his fellow miners.

Together with thousands of other protesters, Magidiwana said they decided to escape from the koppie near the mine, where they had been meeting, when they realised police officers were surrounding them with barbed wire.

"As soon as we emerged on the other side of the kraal, we were met with rapid gunfire. I was hit on my left leg. I stumbled and fell behind the others who had been shot, including Noki [a leader of the protesters who was fatally shot]," said Magidiwana, who was on crutches on Tuesday.

He said the gunfire then stopped, briefly.

"Shortly afterwards I could hear voices of policemen approaching the place where we had fallen. When they got to me, I was again shot several times from close range whilst I was on the ground," said Magidiwana.

"I sustained further shots in my abdomen. The last shot caught my testicles and caused me some severe injury. I pleaded with the police to rather kill me and told them my relatives' name[s], so they could help identify my body."

Laughing, kicking bodies
In response to his plea to be finished off, the police officers told him he was going to die anyway. He said the police officers used their cellphones to take photographs of the bodies lying around while laughing. Others kicked the bodies.

Magidiwana told the commission one police officer felt pity for him and called for ambulances. He lost consciousness and woke up after two weeks in the intensive care unit of Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg.

He said he was later transferred to two other hospitals, where he spent several weeks, before being discharged at the end of November. He was under police guard throughout his stay in hospital.

"I am in severe pain from the wounds on my legs, abdomen, elbow and testicles. I have been advised that there is a strong possibility that I may never be able to father children," Magidiwana said in his sworn affidavit presented to the commission.

Earlier, the commission received an application asking that the ongoing public hearings be moved to Gauteng.

Meeting deadlines
Advocate Dali Mpofu, acting for the mineworkers arrested on August 16, asked the commission's chairperson, retired judge Ian Farlam, to move the hearings to a place close to either Pretoria or Johannesburg.

"Already there has been one extension until the end of May 2013. Some of us are not optimistic that we will meet that second deadline."

Mpofu said the lawyers were incurring numerous costs, including while travelling to Rustenburg and they had less time to hold consultations.

Several other parties, including the evidence leading team, supported the application to move the venue. Some parties said they would only support a move to Pretoria.

Farlam said he would arrange a meeting with Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to discuss moving the venue.

The commission is holding hearings in Rustenburg, North West, as part of its inquiry into the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike in Marikana last year.

On August 16, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 injured when the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

In August, President Jacob Zuma announced the establishment of the judicial commission of inquiry. He tasked it with investigating the cause of the violence of August 16 and the preceding, strike-related events.

The commission is mandated to conclude its investigations by May 31 and will have six weeks to submit its final report to Zuma.

The hearings resume on Wednesday morning. – Sapa

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