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Marikana miners blast Farlam Commission report

About 2 000 mineworkers braved the cold weather in Wonderkop, Marikana, on Sunday to listen to their legal representative unpacking the commission’s report.

One of the workers’ leaders during the strike, Xolani Nzuza, said the commission had taken three years and wasted their time.

Nzuza, who testified at the commission, said he had became suspicious when the time was limited to half an hour for South African and African National Congress deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa and other politicians.

“(Riah) Phiyega [national police commissioner] has no powers. If you charged her, Cyril Ramaphosa, (former Mining minister) Susan Shabangu and (former police minister) Nathi Mthethwa must be charged.” He said General Phiyega had only bowed to pressure from above.

Another worker, Godine Mokotedi, wanted to know who had given the order to the police to shoot.

“We do not have government. Who gave orders to kill?”

Mineworkers also felt the commission had unfairly found against the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

“Amcu was not existing in Lonmin in 2012. We did not even know Joseph Mathunjwa [Amcu president]. We saw him for the first time when he pleaded with us to leave the koppie, he was kneeling and tears were running down his cheeks as he pleaded. It is unfair for the commission to find against Amcu,” said another worker, Lindani Skosana.

President Jacob Zuma released the Marikana report on Thursday.

The Commission had found, among others, that officials of Amcu had not exercised effective control over its members and supporters in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others. They had sung provocative songs and made inflammatory remarks, which had aggravates an already volatile situation, the commission found.

The commission also noted that Mathunjwa had done his best before the shootings to persuade the strikers to lay down their arms and leave the koppie.

Forty-four peple were killed in Marikana in 2012 following a violent, unprotected strike at Lonmin mines. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the week leading up to August 16 when police shot dead 34 striking miners.

President Jacob Zuma appointed retired Judge Ian Farlam to investigate the shooting.

Mathunjwa said he did not regret participating in the commission. However, he stated that he had never found a commission anywhere in the world that had found against a government that had appointed it.

The lawyers for the miners and their families are to study the report and make a public statement about the next steps forward. – ANA

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