Miners stripped naked, sprinkled ‘muti’ at Marikana koppie
The Marikana commission of inquiry has seen footage of mine workers stripped naked while being sprinkled with what police say is muti that was believed to make them brave.
In the footage, shot from a police Nyala on Tuesday August 14, men are seen lining up while being sprinkled with a liquid-like substance.
One of the protesters is seen advancing and urinating in the direction of the police, who stood a distance away.
Police also shot photographs from a helicopter, showing two groups of men, stripped naked and lining up at the foot of the koppie while performing a ritual.
The footage was shot in the afternoon, shortly after the body of National Union of Mineworkers shopsteward Isaiah Twala was found near the koppie by journalists.
The videos were shown during the testimony of Colonel Victor Visser, who is testifying on the violent events that transpired in Marikana in the build-up to the August 16 shooting and killing of 34 miners.
It was widely reported after the fatal shooting of 34 miners on August 16 that some of the miners had undergone rituals which they believed would make them invincible and brave against the police.
The evidence is in contrast with submissions made before the commission earlier by Advocate Dali Mpofu who said his team would argue that there was no inyanga present among the striking miners and that such suggestions were backward and racist.
Visser spent the better part of this morning outlining the police’s plan of action following the eruption of violence at Lonmin’s Marikana mine on August 9.
Visser said the police planned to negotiate with the miners to disarm, failing which they would move into various phases that would culminate in the dispersing, encircling, disarming and arresting of the protesters.
He said police planned to take any weapons that appeared to have blood on them for forensic testing.
The plan also entailed cordoning off hostels and informal settlements to search, disarm and arrest those implicated in the murders that had already occurred.
Visser said police reinforcements from as far away as KwaZulu-Natal had been deployed in Marikana following events of the weekend of August 11.
He said more than 540 police officers from Public Order Policing, the Tactical Reaction Team, the National Task Force and the National Intervention Unit had been deployed in the area from Monday August 13.
The commission continues.