Amcu calls for independent commission of enquiry as mineworkers were ambushed at Marikana

The Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has called for an independent commission of inquiry into the killing of 34 striking mine workers at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, in Rustenburg.

“As much as the president of South Africa has called for a commission of inquiry, we are not different to that, but what we are calling for is an independent and outside body that could deal with the root cause of this matter,” Amcu secretary Jeff Mphahlele said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a public meeting at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

“We do not trust the terms of reference [of the inquiry ordered by Zuma]… Where are they coming from, but [from] the very same people who killed our people?”

On Thursday, police shot dead 34 people and wounded 78 others while trying to disperse a group of striking workers gathered on a hill near the mine.

Zuma has since appointed an inter-ministerial commission of inquiry into the shooting.

It would be led by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane. Its members are: North West premier Thandi Modise and the ministers of mineral resources Susan Shabangu, police Nathi Mthethwa, social development Bathabile Dlamini, co-operative governance Richard Baloyi, labour Mildred Oliphant, defence and military veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, health Aaron Motsoaledi, state security Siyabonga Cwele, and home affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Referring to Zuma, Mphahlele asked: “How can you be player and referee at the same time?”

Mphahlele said police officers shot not only at miners who were apparently attacking them, but also shot miners in the back, as they ran away from bullets. Their bodies were found close to a nearby informal settlement.

“They [miners] were being chased from behind and those [police] who were in front had hidden behind the nyalas,” he said.

UJ’s social change research chair Peter Alexander claimed the killings in Marikana were a deliberate, “pre-meditated massacre”.

He said the public had only seen video footage from cameras placed in front of the crowd.

Aside from mine workers shot for apparently attacking the police, more bodies were found a distance away from the police barrier.

“You haven’t heard about this and have heard what the government wants us to hear,” he said.

“They want us to hear stories about people coming down from the mountain with their spears about to attack police.”

He said mine workers had been attacked with rubber bullets and teargas from behind and that as they ran away, they ran towards the police, where they were killed.

Alexander said he based this on his interviews with striking mine workers after the shooting. – SAPA