'Marikana miners were told not to strike'

A chairperson for NUM testified about the days leading up to the Marikana shooting.

Marikana miners wait for leaders to address them. Picture: Andrea van Wyk/EWN

RUSTENBURG - A branch chairperson for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday testified that he warned Marikana miners not to take part in the illegal strike because their jobs would be at stake

William Sethelele is NUM's second witness testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry which is investigating the deaths at the Platinum mine.

The commission was set up by President Jacob Zuma following the deaths of 34 miners in August.

More than 44 people, including police officers, lost their lives during the violent industrial action.

They were killed during clashes with police while demanding a salary of R12,500.

NUM's legal representative Karl Tip read out Sethelele's statement in which he claims to have told miners not to take part in the strike.

"I stressed that employees who took part in illegal strike action may jeopardise their employment. I urged them to think of their families and dependents."

Sethelele said NUM offices were targeted by protesters and several people were intimidated, but he still encouraged members to report for work.

A chief negotiator for the union admitted last week that they acted irresponsibly in the days leading up to the shooting.

On Friday, Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing many of the surveying rock drill operators, said the situation could have been handled differently by police and Lonmin.