‘Lonmin responsible for Marikana deaths’

Advocate Dali Mpofu says collusion between Lonmin and police led to several deaths.

Crosses on the koppie in Marikana, where miners were killed in a standoff with police on 16 August 2012. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the Marikana miners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, on Wednesday said Lonmin should be held responsible for the deaths at the North West platinum mine.

Lonmin security risk manager Dirk Botes is currently being cross-examined about the platinum producer's involvement in the days leading up to the shooting.

Mpofu says he will argue that Lonmin's policy of refusing to speak to the workers was responsible for all the deaths at the Marikana mine.

During the strike employers refused to engage with the miners, saying the situation was too violent and that it hadn't received any official demands because the workers had by-passed the unions.

Mpofu says the toxic collusion between Lonmin and the police is what led to several deaths in the area before and during the mass shooting.

He has accused Lonmin of deliberately concealing evidence, the was the case with police, to mislead the commission about their intentions during the strike.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission 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.

(Edited By Gadeeja Abbas)