SOUTH AFRICA: The strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine was re-defined as a criminal act to allow for violence against the workers, the Farlam commission of inquiry heard today.
This was the argument put forward by Dali Mpofu, acting for those injured and arrested during the violent strikes at the North West mine in August last year.
Mpofu was referring to e-mails exchanged by Lonmin director Cyril Ramaphosa and other senior Lonmin managers on August 15, the day before 34 workers were killed at Marikana.
In one of them, Lonmin chief commercial officer Albert Jamieson described how, during a radio interview, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu described the unrest at Marikana as a wage dispute.
He wrote that the situation amounted to civil unrest which could not be resolved without political intervention, and needed to be stabilised by the police or army.
Mpofu was questioning National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana on the e-mails and the change in the strike’s characterisation in such a short period of time.