Safety of Marikana miners in peril

An Amcu member's death has been blamed on testimony from Mr X.

Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Advocate Dali Mpofu says the murder of an Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) official is a direct result of the man being named and implicated by controversial police witness Mr X at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

Mpofu says Amcu branch secretary Bongani 'Bhayi' Mehlonkomo was gunned down on his way home from work yesterday afternoon in Marikana.

The miner, a former Amcu member who turned police witness and is only known as Mr X for his own safety, has been testifying against his colleagues at the inquiry and has said miners were responsible for several murders.

While his credibility has been questioned, Mr X has insisted that the miners planned to attack and kill the police at the North West Platinum mine in August 2012.

He has claimed he was part of the group of striking miners who destroyed property, killed people and planned to kill police before the 34 striking miners were shot dead.

The police have not yet named the man but Mpofu is confident the victim is in fact the man Mr X has mentioned several times during his testimony.

Mehlonkomo has been implicated in the murders of two Lonmin security guards and police officers in the days leading up to the 2012 shooting.

Mpofu, who is representing several miners at the inquiry, says his clients believe the assassination was due to Bhayi's name being mentioned.

"Those who have been similarly mentioned and implicated falsely feel that their lives may well also be under threat."

Police say they're still hunting for the suspects and are investigating the motive.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the Farlam Commission of Inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force on the day 34 striking miners were gunned down at Lonmin's Marikana mine 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.