WHEN LUNGISILE closes his eyes, he can still hear the rotor blades of the chopper above him.
He can see fellow miners collapsing around him one by one as they are shot.
AND HE CAN STILL FEEL THE BULLET SLAMMING INTO HIS SKULL.
Lungisile Madwantsi from Wonderkop, in Marikana in the North West, is 39.
He told Daily Sun that as he ran for his life, he jumped over bodies.
“I saw people falling. The guy running in front of me fell and died.
“As we ran men were screaming that police nyalas were driving over miners, but I didn’t see that.
“I was hit by a bullet from a helicopter shot by a man wearing brown uniform. I couldn’t tell if they were soldiers or not.”
He said as he fell he crawled for a short distance, but his left hand side was paralysed.
“My face was against the ground and I couldn’t move.”
He said soon a cop arrived, turned him over, and put his foot on his chest.
“He pointed a gun at me. Then he dragged me towards a pile of dead bodies,” said Lungisile.
That’s when Lungisile passed out. When he regained consciousness, he was in Milpark Hospital in Joburg. He’d been airlifted from Rustenburg.
“When I was healthy I played football and I did boxing. Now I can’t do any of that,” he said
The bullet that struck him on the head caused his left side to be paralysed.
He said he was getting better because of the physiotherapy he got at the local mine hospital. He was laid off work but still gets paid.
“I don’t think the bullet in my head will ever be taken out. Hospitals tell me it can’t be removed,” he said.
Lungisile said the only thing the mine did for him was to pay the physiotherapist.
He felt government officials, including the president, should have come to the area a long time ago. But he believed divisions in the community were blocking that from happening.
“Some people want government to come to the area, while others are opposing this. We want government to come because it’s the same government that injured us,” he told Daily Sun.
“Most of the people who’re against government officials coming to Marikana are people who were never injured. They don’t know our pain.”
Lungisile said if government officials were to come, they might be able to do something to assist the injured miners.
He said compensating the injured could have the opposite effect: such as jealousy within the community.
“I don’t see any reason for Ramaphosa to be refused entry into the area because he’s been wanting to come,” he said.