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Ramaphosa testifying at Marikana commission

The deputy president is on the stand testifying about his involvement in the days leading up to the shooting.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is currently testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry today about his involvement in the days leading up to the shooting of 34 miners in Marikana two years ago.

Security around and in the commission has been beefed up with policemen on horseback, Nyalas parked off outside and several officers patrolling the area on foot.

He is being questioned by his legal counsel David Unterhalter about the emails he exchanged with Lonmin executives.

The deputy president says he realised there was an element of violence that had crept into the situation.

"I read the email with concern and called the Police Minister raising these concerns. I asked him if he could help, because they needed more police presence. I felt duty bound to try and help. Lonmin executives knew I could communicate a message to the minister."

Ramaphosa says descriptions of how people were being killed at the mine were quite horrifying.

"I said to Minsiter situation was getting worse, more violence occurring, take steps to protect life and property. Killing of security guards quite alarming, I said we must all have cool heads."

The miners were shot by police during clashes at Lonmin's Platinum mine in the North West on 16 August 2012.

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

Ramaphosa will today tell the commission his version of events as to what happened almost two years ago.

In 2012 the deputy president was a shareholder at Lonmin's Platinum mine and had sent an email to his board members in the days leading up to the shooting, calling for concomitant action.

Ramaphosa had apparently been made aware of criminal elements involved in the unprotected strike and wanted police and government to intervene.

Former police minister Nathi Mthethwa who testified last month has been accused of being influenced by the deputy president to take action against the miners, who were being violent during the strike.