23 October 2012

South Africa: Families Get Separate Marikana Viewing

An inquiry into the deaths of dozens of striking workers at a South African platinum mine has resumed in the city of Rustenburg. The investigation ... ( Resource: South Africa: Marikana Inquiry Opens

Rustenburg — The family members of Lonmin platinum mineworkers shot dead in August were moved to a private room at the Rustenburg Civic Centre on Tuesday afternoon to view the video footage of the event.

Counselling services would be available to them in the room, said retired judge Ian Farlam, who is chairing a three-member commission of inquiry into the shooting.

On Tuesday morning when video footage of the shooting was shown to the Farlam Commission, proceedings came to a halt when numerous women began wailing, and some fell to the floor. They had to be treated by emergency services workers.

The footage, from various news cameras, showed the protesting miners waving weapons and the shooting itself.

After a break, footage was shown of the North West police commissioner, Zukiswa Mbombo, addressing journalists before the shooting.

In the video, Mbombo told reporters: "I do not want to explain to you what we will do if they [protesters] won't move [from the hill], but today we are ending this matter."

People in the public gallery were cautioned by the evidence leading team that the footage may upset sensitive viewers, as had happened earlier.

The video footage was supplied to the commission by broadcasters including eNews, the SABC, BBC and Al Jazeera.

National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega was in the public gallery, following the proceedings.

Police officers opened fire while trying to disperse a group encamped on a hill in Nkaneng, killing 34 mineworkers and wounding 78 on August 16.

The workers had been carrying knobkerries, pangas, sticks and sharpened iron rods.

Workers at the mine went on strike on August 10, demanding a monthly salary of R12,500. Within four days, 10 people had been killed, among them two policemen and two security guards.

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