Marikana: Mr X denies being a police informer

The Farlam commission of inquiry. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The Farlam commission of inquiry. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Mr X denied that he was a police informer during the 2012 strike at Marikana. The accusation was made by Advocate Dali Mpofu during his cross-examination of the witness at the Farlam commission on Thursday.  

Mpofu, who represents the injured and arrested miners, pointed to Lonmin evidence which shows that Mr X clocked in for work on August 17, the day after what’s become known as the Marikana massacre. On August 16 2012, 34 miners were fatally shot by police and over 70 were wounded.  

This is despite Mr X’s testifying that he was one of those who encouraged miners not to return to work the day after the massacre, but to continue with the strike.  “If you went to work that would be very strange, because you were convincing people not to go,” Mpofu told Mr X. “Unless you went for your handlers,” he added. 

Although Mpofu did not elaborate on this point, it is assumed that he was referring to the police. Mr X is a miner turned police witness and has been testifying about the actions of the miners in the week leading up to the mass killings. He is testifying via video link from a remote location for his own protection. Throughout his earlier cross-examination of the witness, Mpofu has tried to establish whether or not Mr X is receiving any form of remuneration or immunity from the police in exchange for testifying.  

Mr X denied clocking in
Mr X denied clocking in for work on August 17, saying that he used to leave his clock-in card on a windowsill outside the shaft and that someone else probably used it. Possible Mr X link to miner’s death Mpofu put the recent assassination of Marikana miner, Bongani “Bhayi” Mehlonkomo on Mr X’s shoulders. 

“We have considered that Mr Mehlonkomo may have been killed because of your evidence,” Mpofu said. Mehlonkomo was shot and killed on July 22 on his way home from work. In his testimony, Mr X implicated Mehlonkomo numerous times as having taken part in the killings and damaging of property at Lonmin, in the week leading up to the Marikana massacre. 

It is believed that this may be linked to his murder. But Mpofu told the commission that Mr X’s evidence implicating Mehlonkomo is false. “It’s not only possible that he [Mehlonkomo] was killed because of your evidence, but that your evidence in respect of him is false,” said Mpofu.  

Mr X has testified that it was Mehlonkomo who had fired a shot that killed Lonmin security guard Hassan Fundi on August 12 2012 when the striking miners attacked the security officials.

However, Mpofu showed the commission Fundi’s post-mortem results, which show that no gunshot wounds were found on his body. Mpofu told the commission that he had spoken to Mehlonkomo, his client, a few weeks before his death. “And he told me that where ever you [Mr X] implicate him, those were hallucinations. In fact, he laughed it off. When he was laughing it off, little did he know he might be killed for that. 

“All the people you’ve implicated are fearing for their lives because of you,” Mpofu told Mr X.  Mr X insisted that he was telling the truth. He also conceded that it could have been his testimony which led to the murder of Mehlonkomo. 

“The reason he was killed … is that they did not want him to come and give evidence before this commission,” Mr X added. It is unclear who the “they” is that Mr X was referring to, but it is assumed he meant the other miners who participated in the strike.  Contradictions Mpofu spent the morning pulling apart Mr X’s evidence, pointing out contradictions between his statements submitted to the commission and his oral evidence. “I think it’s clear that most of the topics I’ve cross examined you on are hallucinations and fabrications,” Mpofu told Mr X.

‘Committee of 15’
In his statements Mr X named the members of the so called “committee of 15” miners who led the Marikana strike. He had also indicated which of the three Lonmin shafts  – Karee, Eastern and Western – they each represented.  

However, testifying on Thursday, Mr X struggled to recall who the 15 on the committee were and when asked which shafts they represented, he contradicted his earlier evidence. Mpofu put to him that his evidence showed that Mr X was not in fact one of the members of the committee of 15 as he had claimed to be. 

“Secondly, it also shows that somebody must’ve given you the names of the committee members, because what you’re saying now contradicts what you’re saying in your statement,” Mpofu said. During the cross-examination, Mpofu asked a member in the gallery to stand up and asked Mr X if he recognised him. 

Mr X said he did not know who he was. Mpofu then pointed out that this was Makhile “Ntshebe” Mpofana, the man whose house Mr X alleged to have bought his weapons from during the strike.  Mpofana submitted a statement to the commission stating that no one came to his house on that day. 

He also stated that he did not sell weapons but had a licence to sell liquor.  Muti rituals Mpofu later moved to Mr X’s evidence regarding muti. Mr X testified that the strikers were made to lick the ashes of murdered Lonmin security official, Hassan Fundi’s burnt flesh during a muti ritual. However, Mpofu pointed out that this was not mentioned in Mr X’s original statement. 

Mr X claimed that he’d forgotten about the incident, but agreed with Mpofu when he said that it’s normally difficult to forget a traumatic incident such as that. “A teacher can teach you something and you can forget,” Mr X said trying to make an excuse for the omission.  Mpofu then disputed that this muti ritual had actually occurred. 

He also disputed whether it was actually Mr X who cut Fundi on his face during the miners’ attack of the security officials. Mpofu argued that it was only Mr X who struck Fundi on his face, while Mr X insists that other miners known as “Bhele” and “Anele” also hacked Fundi’s face.  Mpofu continued to point out discrepancies in Mr X’s evidence regarding this evidence. 

He then said he will argue that Mr X was in fact not present to witness the attack on Fundi.

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