'Marikana violence couldn't have been prevented'

Ramaphosa testified at the Farlam commission about his role in the 2012 violence at Marikana.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered testimony at the Farlam commission about his role in the 2012 violence at Marikana. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says while mining companies are responsible for the well-being of their workers, this would not have prevented the violent situation in Marikana.

Ramaphosa began testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry on Monday about the role he played in the days leading up to the shooting of 34 miners on 16 August 2012.

At the time, the now deputy president was a non-executive director at Lonmin Platinum and had called for concomitant action to deal with criminal elements during the unprotected strike.

Ramaphosa founded the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the 1980s and fought for workers' rights.

Years later, as a non-executive director at Lonmin, he's been accused of calling the shots to ensure police could end a wage related strike.

He says he simply called on the police minister to deploy more officers to the area, after several people were brutally killed.

"I felt duty-bound to try and help, to protect life and property."

The deputy president says he didn't have the power or influence to push Lonmin bosses to negotiate with the miners and the priority at the time was to bring stability to the area.

On Monday, miners who'd been at the hearings heckled the deputy president, who is expected to answer more tough questions at the commission today.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who is representing the miners, will have the opportunity to cross examine him.