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Thu May 26 22:25:35 SAST 2016

Marikana lawyer calls union boss a liar

AMUKELANI CHAUKE | 30 November, 2012 00:38
Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, testifies at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana killings, in Rustenburg, North West. File photo.
Image by: MOELETSI MABE

Police advocate Ishmael Semenya has accused union boss Joseph Mathunjwa of lying under oath and of being "evasive" when answering questions about the Marikana massacre.

Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, has been accused by Lonmin advocate Schalk Burger of giving "unreliable" responses.

Burger had asked Mathunjwa if the tensions at the mine were a result of a "toxic" relationship between his union and the National Union of Mineworkers.

The two lawyers cross-examined Mathunjwa on his testimony earlier this week at the commission of inquiry into the events that led to the deaths of 44 people at the mine.

Said Semenya: "You said in your evidence that Lieutenant-General Zukiswa Mbombo [the North West police commissioner] went to an ANC torch-bearing ceremony. This is untrue, Mr Mathunjwa.

"There will be evidence that Lieutenant-General Mbombo went to visit the police officer who was injured," Semenya said, referring to an officer critically injured on August 12 in a confrontation that left two of his colleagues and three protesters dead.

"I am not disputing [this]" Mathunjwa said. "I am saying what I was told by [Lieutenant-General William] Mpembe when I spoke to him at the Joint Operations Centre."

Burger put it to Mathunjwa that the "toxic relationship" between the rival unions had contributed to the violence.

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