The inquiry into the massacre of 34 striking mine workers at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana on 16 August has been shown a series of emails involving Lonmin executives Cyril Ramaphosa former NUM Gen Secretary and now Lonmin board member, the NUM, the ANC and the police clearly demonstrate that there was an intention on the part of all parties to take 'decisive action' against the 'criminals' involved in the strike.
The emails were disclosed to the inquiry by Advocate for the families of those killed, Dali Mpofu.
In a mail to Albert Jamieson, Lonmin’s chief commercial officer, a day before the August 16 shooting, Ramaphosa is said to have written: “The terrible events that have unfolded cannot be described as a labour dispute. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such … there needs to be concomitant action to address this situation”.
In other e-mails to Lonmin executives — chairman Roger Phillimore, business transformation manager Thandeka Ncube, chief financial officer Simon Scott and board member Mohamed Seedat — on August 15, Ramaphosa reveals how he will intervene with senior ANC and government figures on behalf of the mining company.
Ramaphosa warned Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to come down hard on striking miners; how mining bosses lobbied him to “influence” Shabangu; and how he advised Shabangu that her “silence and inaction” about the happenings at Lonmin was “bad for her and government”.
An e-mail titled “Security Situation” reads: “You are absolutely correct in insisting that the minister [Shabangu] and indeed all government officials need to understand that we are essentially dealing with a criminal act. I have said as much to the minister of safety and security”.
Other emails circulated between -
- NUM president Senzeni Zokwana about a meeting with the union’s general secretary, Frans Baleni, and former president James Motlatsi to discuss what the NUM should do
- A proposed conversation with ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to suggest that the ANC intervene
- A conversation with Mike Teke, deputy chairman of the Chamber of Mines, about the situation at Marikana
- A discussion and proposal for a meeting with Shabangu in Cape Town on August 15 to discuss “what she needs to do”.
Following the massacre nn an e-mail thanking Ramaphosa for his help on the Marikana matter, Jamieson questions Shabangu’s statement during a radio interview that she had been “briefed” that the matter was a wage dispute that called for management and unions to “sit down and sort [it] out”.
Said Jamieson: “Not sure who briefed her, we are waiting to talk to her and, although not too damaging, it’s also not too helpful”.
Jamieson said he had two discussions with Shabangu’s director-general, Thibedi Ramontja, emphasising that the strike was not an industrial relations matter but “a civil unrest-destabilisation-criminal issue” that should be resolved “without political invention” but instead by the police or army.
In the most daming emails between the North West provincial police commissioner, the national police commissioner and the police minister that they were all on the same page about the action to be taken -
the media was called and told ‘today is the day’
Those who claim that the police were within the rights to kill 34 people and wound almost another hundred should hang their heads in shame - these series of emails show absolute collusion between all the forces ranged against the striking workers at the Lonmin mine and that the massacre was not an accident or the fault of the striking workers. Fourteen workers were shot in the back and several were shot in the head during the massacre.
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