Ramaphosa: Perfect storm evolved at Marikana
Cyril Ramaphosa says nobody took responsibility for the 10 deaths in the days leading up to the shooting.
JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says a perfect storm evolved in Marikana with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) denying any involvement in the unrest at the North West platinum mine.
Ramaphosa is testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry 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.
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.
The deputy president says no one took responsibility for the 10 deaths in the days leading up to the mass shooting and he felt compelled to call for concomitant action.
He said he only held meetings with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the days leading up to the shooting because he knew the leaders and had worked with them before.
Ramaphosa also founded the union in the 1980's.
He said he didn't know anyone from Amcu and at the time, believed the rival union was behind the unprotected strike.
The deputy president said his meeting with the NUM had nothing to do with wage negotiations.
"The non-executive directors are hardly ever involved in negotiations with unions."
He admitted the situation would have been different if Lonmin would have engaged with the miners.
Ramaphosa also testified that 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."
At the same time, proceedings were halted briefly this afternoon when miners shouted that he has blood on his hands and called for his resignation.
"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