Marikana Inquiry: Mpofu says not all miners were violent

Legal teams are submitting final arguments at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry this week.

FILE: Advocate Dali Mpofu says not all miners can be blamed for the Marikana murders. Picture: Sapa

PRETORIA - Advocate Dali Mpofu has defended the actions of Marikana miners saying not all of them were violent during the unprotected strike in 2012.

He says the protesters only armed themselves after allegedly being attacked by members of the NUM.

Mpofu and other legal teams are submitting final arguments at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry this week, after sitting for 293 days and hearing testimony from more than 50 witnesses.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 34 miners who were gunned down by police and 10 others who were killed at the North West platinum mine over two years ago.

Mpofu says the clash between protesters and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the days leading up to the mass shooting prompted miners to arm themselves.

"The first sign of pangas and spears are those held by NUM people."

Mpofu says not all the miners were violent, and they cannot be blamed for all 10 deaths that occurred before 16 August 2012.

"The killings that were clearly linked to the strike must have happened at the hands of one or two strikers."

Mpofu says Lonmin is also largely to blame for refusing to speak to the miners about their wage demands.

He has argued that emotions were high in Marikana and police were still upset about their colleagues being killed, when they gunned down the 34 miners.

"Quite frankly anyone that thinks that the police are angry about the killing of their colleagues on a Tuesday but by a Thursday will get over it, are in dreamland."

Mpofu says all this played a large role in what happened on the 16 August and there was no reason to call up hundreds of officers to the mine.