NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana on Wednesday refused to agree with Dali Mpofu, counsel for Lonmin’s workers who were injured or arrested last year, that the main cause of the deaths of 34 people at a hill near the company’s Marikana Mine was the "toxic collusion between the state and capital".
In October, Mr Mpofu revealed at a hearing of the Farlam Commission that among the issues he would argue before the commission was this very point.
"I don’t think I have to respond to the question because this is what counsel (Mr Mpofu) will present to the commission and has evidence to support it," Mr Zokwana said.
The commission is investigating the turn of events at Marikana, near Rustenburg, where 44 people were killed last year. Ninety-four were wounded and more than 200 were arrested during a six-week unprotected strike.
Earlier in the day, Mr Zokwana retracted a statement he had made last year, accusing the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) of being responsible for acts of violence days before police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers.
Mr Zokwana said he did not accuse Amcu of killing, but that they were responsible for a protest march. "It was a view I held at the time," he said.
On Wednesday, Mr Mpofu read e-mails between then Lonmin director Cyril Ramaphosa and Lonmin executives on August 15, a day before police dispersed the miners in the fatal shooting.
Mr Ramaphosa resigned from the board of directors of Lonmin last week.
In the e-mails, Mr Ramaphosa said the events of the strike were distinctly criminal and that concomitant action should be taken to deal with them.
When Mr Zokwana was asked by Mr Mpofu whether he had heard evidence that the NUM and other unions had held twice-a-day meetings with the police and Lonmin management on the days leading up to the shooting, the NUM president said he did not think those meetings could qualify as collusion.
He said the purpose of the meetings was for Lonmin to brief the parties about the unprotected strike, which began on August 10.
Mr Zokwana also said he was aware that Mr Ramaphosa had mentioned his name in one of the e-mails.
In an e-mail dated August 15, Mr Ramaphosa addressed Lonmin chairman Roger Phillimore and updated him on steps he had taken with stakeholders.
Mr Ramaphosa mentioned that he had had discussions with Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu and had told her that her silence was bad for her and the government.
Mr Ramaphosa also wrote that he had spoken to Mr Zokwana, who reportedly said he and NUM general secretary Frans Baleni had wanted to see Mr Ramaphosa to discuss what the union could do.
In reply to a concern by Lonmin executives that Ms Shabangu viewed the situation at Marikana as an industrial dispute, Mr Ramaphosa said he had had a discussion with Ms Shabangu, who had agreed the situation at Marikana was not industrial action, but a criminal act.
The inquiry continues.