'Heavyweights' likely to testify at inquiry

Cyril Ramaphosa and Nathi Mthethwa are expected to testify at the Marikana inquiry.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - Former police minister Nathi Mthethwa and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are expected to testify next at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry when it resumes later this month.

The testimony of a police witness only known as 'Mr X' has been placed on hold, due to a recent death in the man's family.

The inquiry has until the end of September to establish what led to the d eaths of 44 people at Lonmin's Marikana mine in August 2012.

The evidence of Mr X is aimed at supporting the police's claim that officers acted in self-defence when they opened fire on miners.

But so far the evidence leaders have only punched holes in his testimony.

On Thursday the police witness struggled to convince evidence leader Advocate Geoff Budlender that miners provoked the police and planned to attack officers.

"So the reason you give for the alleged decision to kill the police makes no sense because they we're obstructing you in your attainment at the mine."

Budlender also believes Mr X was not even at the Marikana koppie during the first clash with officers on 13 August 2012, as he struggled to identify himself in pictures taken on the day.

Ten people, including two security guards and policemen, were killed in the days leading up to the incident.

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

Commission chairperson 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.