Farlam Commission hearing final arguments

2014-11-05 16:04
Marikana protesters (AFP)

Marikana protesters (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - The Farlam Commission of Inquiry investigating the deaths of 44 people in strike-related violence at Marikana in August 2012 started hearing final arguments on Wednesday.

Evidence leader Geoff Budlender, SC, said the commission's purpose was to make findings on accountability, help with the healing process, and help ensure "this never happens again".

He urged the commissioners not to look at the evidence before the inquiry in terms of narrow legal liability.

"Did role players act as they should have? If the inquiry ends there [criminal liability]... it has only gone halfway down the road. Was it [the] appropriate thing to do?" Budlender asked.

At the end of last month, President Jacob Zuma granted the commission its final extension. Public hearings, which began in October 2012, have to be completed by next Friday.

After the arguments, the commission will have until 30 March 2015 to write its report and then hand the findings to Zuma.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations in Marikana, North West, in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with police on 16 August. The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

Budlender said: "Whatever reason [the] shooters fired, presume it was lawful, that doesn't end the inquiry, because if the operation was the result of reckless planning or poor planning, the SA Police Service (SAPS) would be responsible, even if the shooters lawfully fired."

Regarding the killings the week before August 16, Budlender argued the same principle should apply.

"The leaders of strike, even if not legally responsible for the murders... did not prevent what the strikers did."

Insufficient evidence

Budlender said the inquiry needed to consider what had likely happened on a balance of probabilities, and where there was insufficient evidence for this the commission should include its "reasonable suspicions" in its report to the president.

"The commission's task is complicated, as there is reason to doubt the truthfulness of some witnesses."

Budlender said that for him this was "one of the most dispiriting aspects of the commission".

He argued that the police's key witness, identified only as Mr X, appeared to have been less than truthful in some aspects of his testimony.

Mr X, whose identity is being protected as he fears for his life, claimed he was one of a core group of militant strikers who allegedly ingested human remains during a muti ritual they believed would make them invulnerable ahead of the 16 August confrontation with police.

Budlender said it appeared Mr X was biased against the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

Mr X invented story

He submitted that Mr X had, among other things, "invented" the story of Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa visiting the koppie in Marikana where the strikers had gathered on the night of 14 August.

He argued that Mr X tailored evidence to fit the SAPS's case and his own purposes.

"The problem is you don't know when he is inventing and when he is telling the truth. We don't say all of the evidence of Mr X is a lie.

"The SAPS response to this [is] not entirely clear," he said.

Some of Mr X's evidence was corroborated elsewhere, he added.

"One just doesn't know what he was told and what he was trying to do."

Read more on:    amcu  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.