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Bishop testifies at Marikana inquiry

Bishop Jo Seoka told the inquiry that he wanted to help miners resolve their dispute with Lonmin.

Anglican Bishop of Pretoria Joe Seoka arrives at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, for talks about the Lonmin wage impasse. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

RUSTENBURG - Bishop Jo Seoka on Wednesday told the Marikana commission of inquiry that he wanted to help miners resolve their wage impasse with Lonmin management.

He made the comments while testifying on behalf of the workers at the inquiry, which will determine whether police were justified in using maximum force to disperse protesters.

Seoka said he tried to get Lonmin bosses to speak to the workers that had gathered on the koppie, but management refused.

He later received a frantic call asking where he was as police had opened fire on the miners.

The cleric said he has had many sleepless nights after the incident because he didn't have the chance to help the miners, when they needed it.

Seoka was called to testify by Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners at the commission, shortly after police finished presenting their findings.

Some 34 miners were killed when police opened fire on demonstrators in the North West Town on August 16.

President Jacob Zuma then appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to head the inquiry looking into the deadly incident.