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Marikana inquiry: 'Mr X' to testify

A miner turned police witness is expected to shed light on the events leading up to the massacre.

FILE: Police look over at Lonmin’s Marikana mine workers who were protesting on 16 August, 2012 for more wages. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - One of the most crucial witnesses in the Farlam Commission of Inquiry is expected to testify this morning.

A miner who turned police witness and is only known as 'Mr X', is expected to shed light on the crowd that gathered on the koppie in Marikana almost two years ago.

The strikers spent several days on the koppie illegally and police claim they opened fire on the group after they came under attack, killing 34 people.

'Mr X' is expected to give details about the rituals the miners underwent in Marikana including the burning of a live sheep in preparation for a confrontation with police.

He will also testify about killings that happened before 16 August where Lonmin security guards, police and workers who didn't want to participate in the strike, were targeted.

'Mr X' may incriminate some of his colleagues which is why his identity has been protected.

Commission chair Ian Farlam ruled earlier this year that 'Mr X's' identity may not be revealed to the public, but only to relevant parties and their clients two weeks prior to his testimony.

He will testify in camera from a remote location.

Several people who were expected to testify at the commission have been killed since the hearings commenced in 2012.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force on the day 34 striking miners were gunned down in the North West mining town on 16 August 2012.

The Marikana standoff has been described as the bloodiest shootout in post-apartheid South Africa.

Ten others, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence in the days leading up to the shooting.