Holomisa calls for civil action

By Drum Digital
21 August 2013

The Marikana families must sue the government and Lonmin in a civil court, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) said on Wednesday.

"There is an abundance of evidence, such as Mr Cyril Ramaphosa's e-mails and the recordings and photographs of our police mowing down these workers, to hope that a civil suit might result in the families being fairly compensated," UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said.

In an open letter to Dali Mpofu, the lawyer representing mineworkers arrested and injured during last year's unrest in Marikana, Holomisa urged him to consider to sue.

"Why do you not consider that we fundraise for these families to assist them to file papers in civil court?" he asked.

Ramaphosa, the ANC's deputy president, allegedly wrote an e-mail to Lonmin a day before 34 mineworkers were killed on August 16, describing their actions as a "criminal act". He was a non-executive board member at the platinum miner at the time.

Mpofu and his clients have provisionally withdrawn from the Farlam Commission of Inquiry due to a lack of funding.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during a pay strike at Lonmin platinum's mining operations in Marikana, near Rustenburg, last year. The 34 people were killed on August 16, 2012, when police fired on them. Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in the preceding week.

Holomisa said the government had gone to great lengths to defend the actions of the police and had already spent R7 million in their defence.

"The Farlam Commission's findings cannot be righteous and just when these families are left to fend for themselves against a government that has millions to spend on crack legal teams."

He said there was no guarantee that the government would honour the commission's findings.

"There is serious doubt whether this government will ever accept liability for the actions of its police and state security organs."

The Marikana Solidarity Campaign also wrote an open letter to the government asking for it to fund the lawyers representing the mineworkers.

-Sapa

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