A police witness, known only as Mr X, had been converted to Christianity, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard on Monday.
This emerged when Dali Mpofu, for the injured and arrested Marikana miners, cross-examined Mr X at the inquiry in Pretoria. “You are looking good today. I see you are even wearing a tie,” said Mpofu. Testifying in Xhosa, Mr X said he was converted on Sunday. He said he would be discarding muti, to follow the prescripts of Christianity.
The witness, who cannot be identified, is testifying via a video link to protect his identity as he says he fears for his life. He is under police witness protection. Mpofu went on: “So you were in church yesterday? Since your conversion, who bought you the tie?”
Mr X said he bought the tie himself in Cape Town on Sunday. He said he arrived in Pretoria on Monday morning, from Cape Town. Mpofu said he will argue that Mr X’s testimony “lacks credibility and was irretrievably destroyed to the point of non-existence”.
“In the unlikely event that anything you said was true, it is embroiled in so many layers of lies such that it cannot be separated out. More than 90% of what you say is false,” said Mpofu. Mr X said he would stand by his evidence, even in court. “I stand by what I have said. I can repeat it in court. A court, which can differentiate between winter and summer,” said Mr X.
‘Lying is a sin’
Mpofu went on: “It’s not too late Mr X. Now that you found the Lord yesterday, you may want to consider that lying is a sin.” Mr X said his evidence had been “straight”. Mr X claims he was part of a group of striking Lonmin mineworkers at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, who underwent traditional rituals, and participated in the killing of Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani on August 12 2012.
He has detailed in an affidavit how flesh was cut from Fundi’s face, how sangomas cut this into smaller pieces, mixed it with blood, and burnt it to ashes for the miners to lick. This was apparently to prepare them for a confrontation with police. Mr X also claims he was among the protesters who fatally shot and hacked two policemen on August 13 2012.
Warrant Officers Tsietsi Monene and Sello Leepaku died after being repeatedly stabbed during the confrontation at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana. On Monday, Mpofu said Mr X’s motives for testifying at the inquiry were questionable. Mr X responded: “I have no motives. I am telling the truth just like Mandela. I speak the truth, just like Mandela.”
Mpofu said the inquiry should discard Mr X’s evidence because it was unreliable. “You have delusions. One of the delusions is your being Mandela,” said Mpofu. “It has been demonstrated that you were not a member of the 15-person workers’ committee and another group of five that were negotiating with mine management.”
Mr X said Mpofu could not make his assertions with certainty as he was not at the protests. The inquiry, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin’s mining operations at Marikana. Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police, over 70 were wounded, and another 250 arrested on August 16 2012. Police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including the two policemen and the two security guards, were killed. – Sapa