Socialist Worker

Marikana miner testifies

by Jim Nichol
Issue No. 2342

Shocking testimony to the ongoing inquiry into South Africa’s Marikana massacre was heard last week.

Miner Siphethe Phatsha gave evidence through a translator.

He recalled the day when police opened fire on striking miners with live ammunition last August.

They killed 34 and injured 78.

“We ran to escape, but they outpaced us. I jumped over the bodies of fallen, dead and injured colleagues.”

He said police fired on him from a helicopter.

“A toe on my left foot was shot. I had to cut it off with my bush knife so I could run.

“I noticed people being shot as they came out of hiding with their hands raised, surrendering, asking for forgiveness.

“So my toe is amputated, my children are traumatised, but I never attacked any person.”

Siphethe said, “I do not read. I do not write.”

He has worked in the mine for 30 years.

He told the inquiry, “I am a rock driller. It is painful hard work.

“The drills are heavy and jump as you work.

“People’s fingers are cut off. Many have died.”

Jim is the lawyer for the miners at the inquiry

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Article information

Tue 26 Feb 2013, 16:52 GMT
Issue No. 2342
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