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Mr 'X': Miners believed muti would stop bullets

'Mr X' began his in-camera testimony at the commission on Thursday.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the Farlam Commission of Inquiry to investigate the shooting of 34 striking miners on 16 August 2012. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - One of the most crucial witnesses in the Farlam Commission of Inquiry has testified how striking miners believed muti would protect them from the police's bullets in the days leading to the August 2012 massacre.

A miner who turned police witness and is only known as, 'Mr X', began his in-camera testimony at the commission on Thursday.

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.

Police claim they opened fire on the group after coming under attack.

Ten people were also killed in the days leading to the shooting including a mineworker, strikers, two Lonmin security guards and two policemen.

'Mr X' said striking employees intended to kill and armed themselves with weapons.

He said he was part of the group of protesters who intimidated, attacked and killed people in Marikana between 10 and 14 August 2012.

'Mr X' told the commission the body parts of two Lonmin security guards who were killed were used to make muti.

He said the miners believes the muti would stop the police's firearms from working.

He said the miners didn't want unions involved in their fight for higher wages and armed themselves with spears and pangas with the intention of killing National Union of Mineworkers members in the area.

'Mr X' also said while he was aware the strike was unprotected and he did not fear losing his job.

His testimony is expected to implicate several other miners who were present during the strike.

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

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.