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Concern raised over 'Mr X's' testimony

The mineworker has turned police witness and his testimony is expected to implicate several miners.

FILE: Miners gather on the koppie in Marikana ahead of the anniversary of the shooting in which 34 miners were killed. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Concerns have been raised about the miners who will be implicated when the mineworker only known 'Mr X' starts testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

'Mr X' has turned police witness and his testimony is expected to implicate several miners who were present during the violent strike 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.

He can be seen on a screen at the commission but will be testifying from another location for his own safety.

Families of the victims and the surviving miners are present to hear his evidence.

Advocate Dali Mofu, who is representing the miners, says its concerning that he has implicated several people whose charges are still pending in the criminal courts.

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.

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.