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Mr X: Muthi will protect me

The use of muthi has come into sharp focus at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

FILE: Miners gather on the koppie in Marikana ahead of the anniversary of the shooting in which 34 miners were killed. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police witness Mr X has told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry he still believes the muthi used by striking mineworkers can protect him against attacks even though it failed the 34 miners killed during the 2012 shooting.

The use of muthi has come into sharp focus at the commission set up to investigate the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

The commission is trying to determine whether police were justified in using lethal force against the 34 striking miners 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 is a former rock drill operator at Lonmin's Marikana mine and claims he led the strike and helped plan an attack on the police.

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

He claims 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.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the injured and arrested miners, has tried to equate the use of muti by the protesters with prayers said by Christians.

Mr X said he witnessed how bullets fired at people who had used the muthi stuck to their clothing and did not penetrate their bodies.

"You believed in the muthi when you saw those people with floating bullets on their clothes."

The police witness claimed he has now stopped using it but would return to it if he felt threatened.

"If that situation comes, I would put the bible aside, use it and after the battle or problem I am facing, go back to the bible."

Mpofu said the use of muthi by the workers was in line with their beliefs and was only meant to protect them against attacks from the National Union of Mineworkers.

During proceedings earlier today, Mr X acknowledged that his testimony about Bongani 'Bhayi' Mehlonkomo, one of the striking workers could have led to his murder in Marikana two weeks ago.

Mehlonkomo was shot dead while on his way home from work at Lonmin's Rowland shaft.