Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

4 July 2014

South Africa: Marikana Commission - Mr X's Testimony Collapses Under Cross-Examination

analysis

What were lawyers for the police thinking when summoning Mr X to the inquiry? Details of the miner's account of the 2012 violence collapsed under cross-examination on Thursday, casting doubt on his whole testimony. Why would the SAPS use this obviously dubious witness? Because behind his sandcastle of events lies questions about who's responsible. And it's not good for Lonmin, the police or the state.

"Would you like to smile for us and show us your front teeth?" asked retired judge Ian Farlam on Thursday.

Mr X, the mineworker turned police witness who cannot be named because of threats to his life, was under cross-examination by evidence leader Geoff Budlender, who grilled him on his grisly account of the violent intent of the Marikana mineworkers in 2012, their use of muti, and claims that he was one of the strike leaders.

When led by the SAPS counsel, Mr X helped shift the blame towards the mineworkers, but under Budlender's questioning he was evasive, comical and confused about even even minor details. The star witness has likely defeated the argument he was there to prove - that the mineworkers were intent on killing just about everyone, fuelled by...

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