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Mon Nov 24 02:08:32 SAST 2014

Another Marikana murder

NIVASHNI NAIR | 13 May, 2013 01:10
A shack just outside the Lonmin mine seen in the background in Rustenburg,
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

The Farlam Commission of Inquiry investigating the killing of 44 people near Lonmin's Marikana mine in August, said yesterday the latest murder of a potential witness was "worrying".

"As a commission we have every reason to be worried because a potential witness [can no longer] shed light [on the inquiry]. But even with these constraints, the commission would have to continue and police would have to continue their investigation," said the commission's spokesman, Tshepo Mahlangu.

The organiser of the Amcu trade union in North West, Steve Khululekile - who was expected to testify at the hearings - was shot dead on Saturday in Billy's Tavern, near shaft 2 of Anglo Platinum's Khomanani mine, in Rustenburg.

One of four men who entered the tavern drew a 9mm pistol and shot Khululekile four times.

He died on the scene. No arrests have been made.

  • In the early hours of yesterday morning twin brothers were killed in a shack in Nkaneng township, near Wonderkop, where thousands of workers gathered before the August 16 Marikana shootings. The brothers' attackers are said to have asked them for information on the whereabouts of another man.

As the police raced to the scene of the twins' killing they were met by a crowd of people near Wonderkop who started shooting at them. The police retaliated.

North West police spokesman Brigadier Thulani Ngubane would not speculate on whether this case was related to the Khululekile shooting.

"It would be dangerous for me to take that route without further confirmation," he said.

Alton Joja, the sangoma who reportedly supplied the striking miners with muti that they believed would make them invulnerable to police bullets, was murdered in his home town, Bizana, in Eastern Cape in March.

Mahlangu said it was natural for those testifying to the commission to be concerned about their safety.

But, he said, the commission was not aware of a link between the murders of Khululekile and Joja.

Joja had been expected to testify about the rituals he performed to confer protection on the Lonmin mineworkers before the August 16 shooting.

Last month Dali Mpofu, the lawyer representing the families of strikers at the commission, was robbed and stabbed while walking on a beach in East London.

Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko yesterday could not confirm a link between the attacks.

"It is not our policy to make public the direction of our investigation. I can confirm that the cases are being investigated but I cannot confirm a link," he said.

Ngubane said each case was treated on its merits.

"We cannot pre-empt anything. A link can only be revealed by the investigation and the investigation is currently on.

"What we are investigating is just a murder. The investigation will reveal if there was political motivation or any other motive for the killing," he said.

Detectives have not established a motive for Khululekile's murder.

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