Marikana Commission confusion

2014-05-18 15:00

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Confusion still reigns over whether the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has had its wings clipped.

President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe signed a proclamation on April 25 to remove a part of the commission’s terms of reference, and set July?31 as the end date of the hearings.

The scrapping of section 1.5 removes the “role played by the department of mineral resources or any other government department or agency” from the terms.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri), which represents mining union Amcu and the families of the killed mine workers, raised concerns but later accepted the commission’s assurances.

Any influence by Cabinet ministers on the police still falls within the inquiry and ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, a Lonmin director at the time, can still be called to testify, the commission told Seri.

The SA Human Rights Commission has written to Zuma asking that the amendments be reversed as the new deadline will “rush” the hearings while the deleted section “has the appearance of an attempt to immunise government”.

According to justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga, Zuma removed the section to reduce the commission’s workload.

“Based on the progress reports of the commission, the president observed the magnitude of the work,” he told City Press.

“Having regard to the time it has taken to complete [the first phase of the] investigation and the costs involved, which amounts to R171?million as of March 31 2014, the president deemed it to be in the interest of justice and of the victims of the unfortunate incidents?...?to focus primarily on the causes of the tragedy.”

According to Mhaga, the amendment would not affect what is covered by the commission.

Phase one deals with parties who were “directly involved” in the events leading up to the shootings in August 2012.

According to Mhaga, “neither of the organs of state or agencies contemplated under section 1.5 would have been directly involved with the incidents as they unfolded”.

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