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'Mr X' to wrap up evidence-in-chief

Lawyers representing the striking miners are expected to try and discredit 'Mr X's testimony.

FILE: Lonmin miners gather on 16 August 2013 ahead of one year anniversary of the shooting at Lonmin's Marikana mine where 34 striking platinum workers were shot dead. Picture: Gia Nocolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A crucial police witness has told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry those who took part in muti rituals did not feel the police's rubber bullets or teargas fired on them.

The miner, a former Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union member, who turned police witness and is only known as 'Mr X', is shedding 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 on 16 August 2012.

'Mr X' is expected to wrap up his evidence-in-chief today after which other lawyers including miners he has implicated will have an opportunity to punch holes in his testimony.

Yesterday, advocate Dali Mpofu who is representing the arrested and injured miners, accused 'Mr X' of laughing while testifying about how miners wanted to provoke the police.

Several lawyers representing the miners are expected to try and discredit the witness as it supports the police's version that they acted in self-defence.

At the same time, 'Mr X' also told the commission that striking miners planned to kill the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)'s then-president Senzeni Zokwana.

Zokwana was banned from speaking to striking miners in 2012.

'Mr X' told the commission if the NUM president approached miners at that time, he risked being killed.

He said despite the fact Zokwana was with officers, miners were convinced they wouldn't get shot by police because of the muti used.

The witness said he heard that Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) President Joseph Mathunjwa allegedly approached strike leaders, who took part in the muti rituals and asked them to join his union and kill the NUM.

The police's witness also told the commission the reason why the 34 miners were killed was because some miners disobeyed an inyanga's instructions for the muthi to be effective when a rabbit was killed.

He described how the group of miners were told to approach the police in a crouching position, minutes before the officers opened fire.

Mr X says he still uses muthi, adding it helps to make one invincible but the instructions must be followed strictly.

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.

Commission chair Ian Farlam ruled earlier this year that the identity of 'Mr X' 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.