Miner denies ‘protection rituals’ took place

A Marikana miner on Monday denied that protesters took part in rituals to make them ‘invincible’.

Ian Farlam, the commissioner of the inquiry investigating the deaths of Lonmin workers during an illegal wage strike in August 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

RUSTENBURG - A Marikana miner on Monday denied that protesters took part in rituals to make them 'invincible' when facing the police during a wage strike.

Siphethe Phatsha is being is being cross examined at the Farlam Inquiry, which is investigating the deaths of 44 people during an illegal protest by Lonmin miners in August 2012.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, who is representing the police, said they had evidence protesters burnt two sheep alive and used the ashes to make traditional medicine.

The medicine was allegedly supposed to make them "bulletproof".

Phatsha denied knowing anything about that, despite footage showing that he was with the group at the Marikana koppie when some of those rituals were taking place.

Phatsha also claimed the striking miners did not charge at the police when they tried to disperse them.

But Semenya argued that miners had planned to attack the officers on the ground because they believed certain rituals had made them invincible.

Retired judge Ian Farlam and his team will try and identify if police were justified in using maximum force on miners on the day 34 miners were gunned down.

They will also determine what role unions, government and mine management played in the violence.