Marikana: Miners ‘declared war on cops’
Striking Marikana mine workers declared war on the police when one of their leaders allegedly challenged a senior officers on the scene to sign a paper so the whole world could see how they were going to kill one another that day.
This was a submission made yesterday by SA Police Services lawyer Ishmael Semenya SC during cross-examination of Siphethe Phatsha, a survivor of the August 16 shooting that left 34 mineworkers dead.
Commencing his cross-examination, Semenya asked Phatsha to identify a myriad of weapons in photographs displayed on an overhead projector.
Phatsha pointed out weapons including spears, pangas and inculas (sharpened steel rods). However, when shown a photograph of a protesting mine worker carrying a firearm while facing the police, he denied that he had seen anyone carrying a gun.
Semenya said one of the leaders of the protest, Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki had told police shortly before the shooting that they should sign the piece of paper.
Semenya said by this, Noki, dubbed the “man in the green blanket”, meant the police were going to be killed.
But Phatsha said he couldn’t comment because he had not heard what Noki had told the police. He went further, saying Noki would be the best person to answer that because he is the one who is alleged to have said the words.
Noki was one of the first to be killed when police opened fire that afternoon.
Semenya argued that Noki was referring to everyone, including Phatsha, who was carrying pangas, inculas and spears when he said “we must sign a piece of paper”.
“You and Mambush are one because you are moving in the same group,” Semenya said, arguing that Phatsha was armed and was in the same group with Noki that faced police with dangerous weapons.
The hearing continues.