Shabangu contests issues at Farlam inquiry

It's not clear what Shabangu was told about the Marikana violence in the days ahead of the shooting.

Susan Shabangu. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN.

PRETORIA - Former Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu says a statement released by her office in August 2012 was incorrect because she never said she was going to engage with the police minister about the violence in Marikana.

Shabangu is currently testifying at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force on 16 August 2012.

Ten people were also killed in the days leading to the shooting including a mineworker, strikers, two Lonmin security guards and two policemen.

There is some confusion about what Shabangu was told about the violence in the days leading up to the shooting.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a Lonmin shareholder at the time, arranged to meet Shabangu on 15 August 2012, the day before the shooting of 34 strikers.

Shabangu says Ramaphosa did indicate that he was concerned about her silence on the issue considering that several people had been killed.

When they met, she says it was a brief, but they had detailed discussion about crime in the area. Evidence so far indicates that the former mineral resources minister was contacted by the deputy president, who convinced her the strike in Marikana was not a labour matter but a criminal one.

It's unclear exactly what action took place in the days leading up to the police shooting.

Shabangu says a statement was released but she never indicated that she would discuss the matter with the president or the police minister.

The current minister of women's affairs says she was going to seek guidance from them.

Shabangu also says that during the unprotected strike, she wasn't aware of the existence of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Evidence leaders, however, said they have an interview with Shabangu in which she admitted she was aware that Amcu existed before the violence escalated.

Shabangu says this was simply from the media reports she had read.

Only after the shooting, did she arrange a meeting with all stakeholders and task the Labour Ministry to involve Amcu.