Weapons in demand during Marikana strike

A shop owner said there was a sudden surge in demand for pangas, axes and hatchets in Marikana.

Lonmin miners make their way through Marikana, as they march, demanding better salaries. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

PRETORIA - A shop owner on Tuesday told the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that from mid-August, there was a sudden surge in demand for pangas, axes and hatchets.

Mohammed Cassim made the claims in a statement read out at the hearing.

The commission is probing the deaths of 44 people who were killed during clashes at the North West platinum mine.

Miners were protesting over pay.

Cassim told the inquiry he ran out of pangas and axes as the demand for the weapons increased in early August.

He said he usually kept at least 30 pangas at his shop.

Cassim added it was the first time he ever sold so many weapons over a short period of time.

He also told the hearing that those who bought the items would usually wrap them in newspapers but in August, they put them in their pants and jackets.

Last week, the commission heard how people were attacked and robbed in the area during the unrest.

On Monday, families of the victims conducted a cleansing ceremony at the koppie where 34 miners were gunned down during a confrontation with police on August 16.

They believe this will appease their loved ones and bring peace to the area.

Shortly after the deadly shooting, President Jacob Zuma set up the inquiry the determine whether police were justified in using maximum force against demonstrators.