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STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL UNION OF MINEWORKERS ON THE FINAL REPORT OF THE MARIKANA COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

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STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL UNION OF MINEWORKERS ON THE FINAL REPORT OF THE MARIKANA COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

1.The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) welcomes the release of the final report of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

2.Based on our initial assessment of the extensive report, it contains a comprehensive account of the material evidence led during the two years during which the Commission conducted its proceedings and sets out fundamental findings on key issues relating to the tragic events at Marikana in August 2012.

3.In its opening submission to the Commission, NUM argued that the unprotected strike which commenced on 9 August 2012 was from inception characterised by high levels of intimidation and violence and soon descended into a complete disregard for the rights and lives of non-strikers and attacks on NUM members, officials and the union itself. These attacks, perpetrated largely by a core group of the strikers, continued relentlessly both during and after the unprotected strike. The Commission report vindicates NUM’s submissions in this regard.

4.At the very outset the Commission report records that the evidence presented to the Commission shows, amongst others, that “the tragic events that occurred during the period 12 to 16 August 2012 originated from the decision and conduct of the strikers in embarking on an unprotected strike and in enforcing the strike by violence and intimidation, using dangerous weapons for the purpose.”[1]

5.The Commission noted also that the earlier unilateral wage increases granted by the neighbouring Impala Platinum Mine impacted on Lonmin where the expectation formed that substantial wage increases could be achieved through unprotected strike action, violence and intimidation.[2]

6.In relation to specific events at Lonmin during August 2012, we note the following fundamental observations and findings made by the Commission in its final report:

7.In relation to the strikers:

7.1.The Commission condemned, in the strongest terms, the violent manner in which the unprotected strike was sought to be enforced, and the brutality of the attacks upon those persons who suffered injuries and who died prior to 16 August 2012.

7.2. The Commission also found the averment by the strikers that they took up arms to protect themselves against NUM to be untrue.[3]

7.3. The Commission also accepted the evidence of Mr X in relation to the use of muti by the strikers, and stated that there was sufficient corroboration of his evidence regarding the use of muti by the strikers in the furtherance of their endeavours to enforce the strike.[4]

7.4.The Commission found that the strikers decided, for reasons unrelated to any of the trade unions, to advance their claim for a wage of R12 500 on their own.[5] In this regard, the evidence of Mr Mabuyakhulu that NUM had made it clear that we were unable to take up the demand of the RDOs was rejected by the Commission.[6]

7.5. From as early as 10 August 2012, a climate of violence and intimidation on the part of the strikers had prevailed.[7] And the strikers were in possession of dangerous weapons from as early as 10 August 2012.[8]

7.6.The Commission found that on 11 August 2012, the strikers who marched to the NUM office at Western Platinum Mine did so with violent intent, armed with an array of dangerous weapons.[9] In those circumstances, the Commission found that the actions of the NUM officials and members in that office of arming themselves with an assortment of weapons to protect their office and persons cannot be criticised, especially in light of the information conveyed to them by the Lonmin security officers and the short time within which these events occurred.[10]

7.7. The Commission rejected the argument by counsel for the injured and arrested persons that the shooting of two strikers at the NUM offices on 11 August was a so-called “game changer”, stating that the first “game changer” was the decision by the strikers to enforce the unprotected strike by violence and intimidation.[11]

7.8.NUM welcomes the recommendation for further investigation of the shooting on that day and maintains that the NUM officials and members acted within the parameters of private defence.[12]

7.9.The Commission found that on 12 August 2012, the strikers were responsible for the deaths of Mr Mabelane and Mr Fundi and no facts or submissions were made by anyone concerning the justification of these killings.[13] This included the mutilation of Mr Fundi and the removal of body parts.

7.10. Similarly, the Commission found that the murder of Mr Mabebe, and the assaults and damages to property that occurred at the K4 shaft on 12 August 2012 was an unprovoked attack on unarmed persons who were simply going about their business and that the only reason for the attack appeared to be to enforce the strike with intimidation.[14]

7.11.The Commission found that on 13 August 2012 Mr Langa was brutally killed by the strikers on his way to work.[15]

7.12.The Commission also found that on 13 August 2012, Mr Twala (a NUM shop steward) was killed at the koppie, execution style, by a number of strikers apparently acting in concert.[16] The evidence points to the involvement of several strike leaders in his death.

8.In relation to SAPS:

8.1.NUM concurs with the findings of the Commission relating to the shortcomings of the SAPS operational plan and its implementation in dealing with the strikers.

8.2. NUM notes that there are serious findings in relation to misleading[17] the public and the Commission by the SAPS. In those circumstances, the recommendation that steps be taken in terms of Section 9 of the SAPS Act to inquire into the fitness of the National Commissioner and the Provincial Commissioner for the North West Province to remain in their posts and whether they are guilty of misconduct in attempting to mislead the Commission is appropriate.[18]

8.3.NUM welcomes the referral of the question as to whether any of the SAPS shooters at scene 1 and scene 2 exceeded the bounds of self or private defence to the DPP of the North West Province with the recommendation that he cause investigations to be made by IPID as to whether there is case against any of the shooters and whether to institute criminal proceedings.[19]

8.4. NUM also welcomes the Commission’s recommendation that a panel of experts be appointed to review Standing Order 262 and all other prescripts relevant to Public Order Policing, to investigating whether Public Order Policing methods are inadequate, and to implement a training programme where all Public Order Policing members are extensively and adequately trained.[20]

9. In relation to AMCU:

9.1.The Commission found that the AMCU President had used the strike as a platform to recruit more members of AMCU.[21]

9.2.The Commission found that he and other officials had used inflammatory language which incited the strikers, and that he acquiesced in the inflammatory utterances of other AMCU officials in relation to NUM.[22]

9.3.The Commission also found that although AMCU claimed that it knew nothing about the strike at the koppie, the speakers at the koppie said that AMCU was behind the strike.[23]

10. In relation to LONMIN:

10.1The Commission found that Lonmin failed to insist on and ensure heightened security arrangements in view of the intelligence information available to them.

10.2.Further, the Commission found that Lonmin did not use the intelligence available, did not properly formulate plans for dealing with the strikers, did not ensure that there were adequate security resources at its disposal and did not properly brief members.[24]

10.3.The Commission also found that Lonmin was reckless in urging employees to come to work in the knowledge of the potential dangers to them, and doing so meant that Lonmin bears some responsibility for the injuries and deaths of its employees and those of its subcontractors.[25]

10.4.The Commission held that Lonmin’s failure to comply with its housing obligations created an environment conducive to the creation of tension, labour unrest, disunity amongst its employees or other harmful conduct.

11. In relation to NUM:

11.1.NUM notes with respect the degree of criticism directed by the Commission towards NUM in relation to the advice that the local Marikana branch leadership gave to the RDOs during the strike, and for the attempts by the local leadership to encourage and assist non-striking workers to go to the shafts in circumstances where there was a danger of death or injury to those workers by armed strikers seeking to enforce the strike through unlawful means.[26] NUM will thoroughly consider these findings and will take immediate cognisance of them in the conduct of future affairs.

12. Regrettably, in relation to the proposed recommendations with regards to compensation to the dependents of deceased, the Commission was not satisfied that its terms of reference are wide enough to cover the question as to whether a compensation scheme of such kind should be implemented by the State.[27] NUM remains of the view that some form of compensation should be paid to the dependants of the deceased. Such compensation should be paid by the employers and the State, and should neither be limited to the deaths that occurred within the limited time frame covered by the Commission’s terms of reference nor to the dependants of deceased who were employed by Lonmin Platinum.

13. Many lost their lives after 16 August and their deaths were accordingly not investigated by the Commission. NUM gives particular recognition to the following NUM officials and members whose deaths flowed from the events leading up to and during the unprotected strike:

·Mr Dumisani Mthinti, shop steward, executed at the koppie on 11 September 2012;

·Mr Daluvuyo Bongo, branch secretary, assassinated on 5 October 2012 before he could testify before the Commission;

·Mr Mbulelo Nqetho, shaft secretary, murdered on 3 June 2013;

· Ms Nobongile Nora Madalo, shop steward, murdered on 12 August 2013;

· Mr “Brown” William Setelele, branch chairperson, assassinated on 17 October 2013 after testifying before the Commission; and

·Mr Percy Richard Letanang, shaft steward, murdered on 2 November 2013.

14. NUM also pays tribute to Mr Saziso Albert Gegeleza, shaft secretary, who stood up for the rights of his union on 11 August 2012 and died after a long illness on 2 May 2013. His evidence in relation to the events of 11 August 2012 was accepted by the Commission.[28]

15. The delay in prosecuting the perpetrators of the murders during and after the unprotected strike has contributed to a climate of impunity in the Marikana area and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Where particular investigations and prosecutions were held in abeyance for the duration of the Commission, these must be pursued without further delay.

16. Finally, NUM records afresh its ongoing sorrow at the loss of life and the injuries that occurred during the events examined by the Commission and the dislocating impact on an uncountable number of people as a result. NUM will reflect honestly on the findings and recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry and calls on all parties to do so in order to ensure that there is never another Marikana.

For more information please contact:

Erick Gcilitshana: NUM Health and Safety Secretary: 082 809 3105
David Sipunzi: NUM General Secretary: 082 883 7293
Livhuwani Mammburu: Acting NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257

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[1] p42, para 1.1(b).
[2] p49, para 4.3-4.4.
[3] pp 561-562, para 1.
[4] p643-645.
[5] p55, para 10.
[6] p55, para 9.
[7] p76, para 28 .
[8] p511-512, paras 3-4.
[9] p97, para 7; p 511-512, para 3-4.
[10] p101, para 6.
[11] p511, para 3; p512, para 4.
[12] p101, para 6-7.
[13] p121, para 24.
[14] p127, para 23.
[15] pp 128-129, paras A1-A5.
[16] p175, para 21.
[17] p397, para 13.
[18] p515, para 4-5.
[19] p518, para 6.
[20] p549, para 8.
[21] p504, para 35.
[22] p504, paras 34-35.
[23] p504, para 36.
[24] P478, para 64.
[25] p478-479, para 65 and 66
[26] p493, para 23.
[27] p520, para 8
[28] p511, para 3.
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