Ramaphosa 'didn't have influence' to stop Marikana

The deputy president has admitted that Lonmin could have done more to negotiate with workers.

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Sapa.

PRETORIA - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has countered accusations by angry miners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, saying he did not have the political influence to stop the mass killings or to start wage negotiations at Lonmin in 2012.

Proceedings were disrupted at the commission in Centurion earlier today with protesters saying the deputy president has blood on his hands.

Ramaphosa is testifying about his involvement in the days leading up to the mass shooting on 16 August 2012 when 34 miners were killed at the hands of police.

At the time of the shootings, Ramaphosa was a non-executive director at Lonmin.

Ramaphosa said he called then Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to deploy more officers to Marikana because Lonmin executives were concerned about the increasing number of deaths and destruction to property.

He said he had nothing to do with the police deployment or operation that happened thereafter.

"I should be flattered by the importance and influence you seem to think I have but that is simply not the case."

Ramaphosa admitted that Lonmin could have done more to negotiate with the workers but says as a non-executive director, he had nothing to do with negotiations.

Earlier, miners at the inquiry heckled the deputy president.

"Blood on his hands! Ramaphosa must resign!," the miners shouted.

Ramaphosa was surrounded by his body guards and didn't respond to the chants.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners, managed to intervene and calm the group down.

Several mineworkers also wore t-shirts with a picture of a buffalo, in reference to the millions of rands Ramaphosa bid on a buffalo, a month after the mass shooting.

Commissioner Ian Farlam warned that if this happens again, he'll clear the chamber.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force on the day.

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.