Marikana Probe Warned Against ‘Hasty’ Justice
The unpacking of the precise facts around what happened during the shootings at Lonmin's platinum mine was being eagerly awaited by all in South Africa, but the legal processes should not be rushed, a lawyer said on Wednesday.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing three parties before the judicial commission of inquiry being held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, said the investigations had to be meticulous.
"The issue of the credibility of this commission is very important and I know you, chair (commission leader, retired judge Ian Farlam) do care about the plight of the victims.
"Haste may result us in us having a half-baked and rushed product," said Mpofu.
"There is nobody in this country who is more keen for the finalisation of this commission than the victims. That point needs to be made very clear so that there won't be accusations of delaying tactics," he said.
Mpofu is representing the 270 men who were detained on August 16, charged with murder and later released. He is also representing an organisation called the Marikana Community Committee and the family of slain ANC councillor Pauline Masutlhe.
Masutlhe died at the Job Shimankane Tabane Hospital in Rustenburg, after being reportedly shot by a rubber bullet. She was allegedly shopping in Nkaneng informal settlement near Wonderkop when she was hit.
Mpofu said his team had written to President Jacob Zuma, requesting that Masutlhe be included in the terms of reference covered by the Farlam commission, but there had been no response.
"That letter was acknowledged to have been received by the office of the president in September and the department of justice. Our instructions from the family are that we should leave no stone unturned to ensure this case is included in this commission," said Mpofu.
He appealed to the commission to ensure that the victim parties get financial assistance to enable them to fully participate in the processes of the commission.
"As far as the participation of this inquiry is concerned, there is no legal reason why these people should not be assisted. They are here to assist you, chair, to assist the country to reach the truth and the reconciliation that is being sought," said Mpofu.
Thirty-four miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on them while trying to disperse protesters near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on August 16.
According to some reports since the event several miners were shot dead among rocks a distance from where the police clashed with the main group of striking workers.
On Monday and Tuesday the inquiry conducted an in loco inspection of the area where the miners were shot in Marikana. The commissioners also looked at the miners' hostels, formal mine housing, local informal settlements and the hospital where wounded miners were taken after the shooting.