Marikana: Application opposed for Mr X’s mental observation

An application to have a witness known only as “Mr X” undergo mental observation was opposed at the Farlam commission of inquiry on Monday.

“The application is unsound in law and ought to be dismissed,” evidence leader Kameshni Pillay said in Pretoria. She said the application had no merit. “There’s no factual basis for the application,” Pillay said. Dali Mpofu SC, for wounded and arrested Marikana mineworkers, asked for Mr X to undergo mental observation. 

He may not be named to protect his identity. “The nature and purpose of this application is simply to seek a ruling that Mr X’s competence and capability to give evidence as a witness in the commission be investigated, preferably by means of a medical inquiry into his mental or psychological state,” Mpofu said. 

He said the rights of affected parties had to be protected. “Mr X is a very important witness, and the issues he is pronouncing [on] are issues that are of a very serious nature. The allegations he makes in respect of certain people have far-reaching implications,” Mpofu said. 

He said on Friday that Mr X said his physical or mental distress was caused by supernatural powers and actions against him. Mr X’s face was revealed to the commission for the first time on Thursday, when he started giving evidence via video link from another location. 

‘Intimidation of Lonmin employees’
He testified that pieces of flesh were cut from one of two Lonmin security guards, Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani, strikers killed. The flesh was brought to a sangoma (traditional healer) to make muti. This was supposed to make the strikers bulletproof in their confrontation with police. 

He testified about “the killing and intimidation of Lonmin employees who were unwilling to take part in the violent strike”. Pillay said Mr X’s evidence had been clear and coherent. National Union of Mineworkers’ lawyer Karel Tipp said Mr X’s evidence was clear and its reliability could be tested during the commission. Mike van As, for Lonmin, said Mr X’s evidence corroborated evidence given by other witness. 

The police also opposed the application. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union supported it. The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the violent wage-related strike at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West. On August 16, 2012, 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police, who were allegedly trying to disarm and disperse them. Ten people, including two police officers and the two security guards, were killed during the preceding week. – Sapa

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.


To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it
Advertising

Press Releases

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations