A Marikana miner speaks

Posted on March 13, 2013


To my mind, this brief report (below) by lawyer Jim Nichol sums up the experience and feelings of many ordinary miners who survived the horrific tragedy at Marikana.

by Jim Nichol

Shocking testimony into South Africa’s Marikana massacre has been heard at the ongoing Farlam inquiry.

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.”

Siphethe 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.”

He added: “I do not read. I do not write” and said he had 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.”