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NUM: Police & army were needed in Marikana

NUM president Senzeni Zokwana says the environment in Marikana during the wage strike was a unique one.

NUM president Senzeni Zokwana says the environment in Marikana during the wage strike was a unique one. Picture:Taurai Maduna/EWN

RUSTENBURG - The President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Wednesday said police and the army were needed in Marikana to restore calm to an already volatile situation.

Senzeni Zokwana was being cross-examined at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry about the union's role in the days leading up to the violence outside Lonmin's platinum mine last year.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing some of the miners who were injured or arrested, said Lonmin and police were colluding against unions when it was a labour dispute that should have been resolved without additional security or force.

Zokwana disagreed.

He said the police's presence was "highly needed" to ensure no further dead bodies were discovered in the mining town.

Zokwana added that as a union leader, he had never experienced a company calling in the police and army to help resolve a labour dispute.

He said unlike the environment in Marikana, police officers would not be needed in a normal setting.

An email sent by former Lonmin board member Cyril Ramaphosa to Lonmin management also showed that Zokwana had asked for help on how to deal with the situation.

The commission is investigating events in the days that led up to the killing of 34 miners on a koppie in the mining town.

Farlam and his team have also been tasked by President Jacob Zuma with determining whether police were justified in using maximum force on Lonmin workers, and subsequently killing 34 miners.