Marikana families sue Cyril, Lonmin

By Drum Digital
13 November 2015

Over 300 families of the victims of the Marikana tragedy have served Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Government and the Lonmin mining company with a summons regarding compensation.

By Thembisile Makgalemele

Over 300 families of the victims of the Marikana tragedy have served Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Government and the Lonmin mining company with a summons regarding compensation.

“The families will like to be compensated to the tune of R1 billion for unlawful arrest, unlawful detention, unlawful prosecution and for the injuries that they suffered,” explained the families’ lawyer Andries Nkome, of Nkome Incorporated Attorneys. He added that the families also need an apology for the massacre of the 34 striking miners in 2012.

At least 44 people were killed during a violent wage strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana, near Rustenburg, in North West. About 28 000 Lonmin mineworkers went on a wildcat strike, demanding to be paid a minimum basic salary of R12 500 per month.

The parties have until next week to respond to the civil suit.

“We will not hesitate to obtain a default judgment against the three parties should they fail to respond by next week,” said Nkome.

The Deputy President’s Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed that the Ramaphosa’s offices had received the summons but would not comment any further.

A statement from Ramaphosa’s offices said that the Deputy President has instructed his lawyers to defend the action and reiterated that the findings of the Farlam Commission of Enquiry remain clear. The commission found that Ramaphosa, who was a Lonmin shareholder at the time, was not responsible for the killings.

In August this year the Socioeconomic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) and the Legal Resources Centre filed another lawsuit for the families of the deceased mineworkers against the Minister of Police, Nkosinathi Nhleko.

The applicants are also demanding an apology from the Minister of Police in addition to compensation for the loss of the financial support, grief and emotional shock, medical expenses resulting from psychological and psychiatric treatment, and loss of family life and parental care.

President Jacob Zuma announced publicly that he wants to settle the matter out of court.

“But there have not been any engagements regarding the settlement,” said Naadira Munshi of Seri.

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