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‘Marikana miners had threatening attitude’

Num President Senzeni Zokwana is testifying about the union's role during protests at Lonmin.

File: National Union of Mineworkers President Senzeni Zokwana is testifying about the union's role during violent protests at Lonmin. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

RUSTENBURG - National Union of Mineworkers (Num) President Senzeni Zokwana on Thursday said he was deeply disturbed by the threatening attitude of miners in the days leading up to the August shooting in Marikana.

He made the comments at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry in Rustenburg.

Zokwana was testifying about the union's role during violent protests at the Lonmin mine, where 34 striking workers were gunned down during a confrontation with police on August 16.

Miners were demanding a minimum salary of R12,500 a month.

Zokwana told the hearing how protesters were singing anti-Num songs at the koppie.

He claims he was intimidated when he tried to address the crowd.

The union boss said he could not believe how some people were hacked to death during the five-week long illegal strike.

"I was concerned about this threatening attitude of the strikers (and) the safety of other people."

Zokwana said miners decided not to use Num as their negotiating agent and that they could only get a mandate from members who trusted in their abilities.

He added police were needed to restore law and order to the volatile area.

Earlier, the Num president defended his union, saying it had fought for workers' rights for decades.

But the hearing heard that Num may have instigated the violence at the platinum mine by aggravating protesters.

President Jacob Zuma set up the commission shortly after the deadly shooting.

Retired judge Ian Farlam and his team are investigating whether police were justified in using maximum force on the day in question.

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