Funding haunts Marikana commission

2013-07-25 13:58

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has again postponed its hearings while representatives of the wounded and arrested miners continue to try to secure funding to cover their legal costs.

Andries Nkome, attorney for the miners who were arrested and wounded in August last year, said they had again written to the department of justice, the presidency and the Legal Aid Board but had not yet received a response.

This was after the North Gauteng High Court dismissed an application aimed at forcing government to pay for their lawyers’ legal fees.

In his judgment, Judge Joseph Raulinga said there was nothing preventing the parties from settling the matter out of court.

At the hearings of the commission today, evidence leader Geoff Budlender said there would be a meeting with a potential funder tonight, but Nkome said they had not heard anything more about the “potential funder”.

On Monday, Advocate Dali Mpofu asked that the commission postpone the hearings until August 19 when the Constitutional Court would have made a ruling on financial assistance for the injured and arrested miners’ legal team.

But it was decided that the commission would adjourn until today as there was a funder who might assist with interim funding. This has not yet materialised.

Nkome says they have been running around trying to find out who this funder would be, but after two meetings with the Raith Foundation “we are still in the same position we were before. They have not agreed to anything,” he said.

Advocate George Bizos from the Legal Resources Centre said today he was worried about the continuous postponements as this would impact public confidence in the effectiveness and credibility of the inquiry, Sapa reported.

“At this stage, we must place on record that, in accordance with the instructions of our clients, we will no longer be appearing before the commission or participating in its proceedings until the issue of funding of legal representation of the parties has been resolved,” said Bizos.

Meanwhile, Nkome says they are still waiting for Raulinga’s written judgment before approaching the Constitutional Court.

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