South Africa: Missing Marikana Footage in Spotlight

The absent footage of Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa's second address to protesters gathered at a koppie (hill), hours before the August 16 shooting, was discussed at the Farlam commission on Monday.

Counsel for Lonmin mine, advocate Schalk Burger SC, cross-examined Mathunjwa about the second visit of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union delegation to the koppie at Marikana, North West near the mine.

Burger asked Mathunjwa why his second address to the workers was not recorded.

Burger said: "I want to know why you did not record the important second meeting? It is a simple question."

Mathunjwa responded: "The media was present. I have asked why they do not provide the recording of my second visit to the commission."

He admitted that he had used his cellphone to record some of his addresses to the protesters.

Mathunjwa's first visit, and another visit on August 15, were recorded and the videos have been played at the Farlam commission.

Burger also quizzed Mathunjwa over his involvement in the strike. He said according to regulations at the mine, informed by representation figures, Amcu was not the appropriate union to be the negotiating union.

"Remember Amcu came at the invitation of your client. If your client [Lonmin] knew that Amcu was not the bargaining agent, why then did they invite us?" Mathunjwa responded.

"That was our best as a responsible union called in by the employer. It seems today I am being crucified by you for coming to help diffuse the situation," he said.

"If I didn't go [to intervene in the strikes], I would also be blamed," said Mathunjwa.

Burger said evidence would be led to show that Mathunjwa, during a visit to the koppie, wrongly told the protesters that Amcu was going to represent them in their fight for a R12,500 a month salary.

"We were not in a boardroom there, we were not in an office. There was no legal representative there on my side. It was not an academic environment.

"All I wanted was to get the trust of the protesters," said Mathunjwa.

At the end of Burger's cross-examination, which started on Thurday, Karel Tip SC, started questioning Mathunjwa. Tip represents the national Union of Mineworkers at the commission.

The commission is investigating the events surrounding the August killing of 44 people in wage-related violence at Lonmin mine in Marikana, North West.

Public hearings are being held in the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on August 16 and 78 were wounded when the police fired on them while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

The commission was announced by President Jacob Zuma in August. The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Zuma said the commission would complete its work within four months, and would have to submit its final report a month later.

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