Judge to 'take time to consider' judgment on Marikana report

2015-06-08 16:59
(Jenni Evans, News24)

(Jenni Evans, News24)

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Pretoria - Judgment was reserved on an application to have President Jacob Zuma immediately release the Farlam Commission's report on the Marikana killings.

''Well, I shall take time to consider my judgment, and for that purpose, judgment will be reserved,'' Judge Neil Tuchten said in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

The court heard submissions by advocate Dali Mpofu on behalf of applicants Mzoxolo Magidwana, who was shot, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), who wanted the report released now and did not want to wait until June 30 - the cut-off date given by Zuma.

Zuma's counsel, advocate Hilton Epstein, submitted the president needed until June 30 to ''get to grips'' with the report because it was serious, and he would have to answer questions about it.

But Mpofu said that if the retired Judge Ian Farlam, who chaired the commission of inquiry into the shootings, could keep to his November 2014 undertaking to give the president the report on March 31 this year, there was no explanation as to why the president was not releasing the report.

''So for four months it is known that this calamity is going to happen... and yet you are told that well basically look, I'm busy. With the greatest respect, it cannot be tolerable,'' said Mpofu.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri), said it was against the victims and their families' dignity to not release it soon and successfully got Epstein to agree to June 30 as the latest the report could be released.

But Mpofu was not happy, and still wanted it released immediately, or at least within 48 hours of whatever order Tuchten makes.

Earlier, Mpofu said the mineworkers and their families did not trust Zuma to give them the report on June 30.

“In short, we do not trust or believe any of his promises,” said Mpofu, pushing for the report on the shootings to be released now.

Mpofu said rumours were flying around that “this one” has got a diplomatic posting, “that one” is retiring, regarding some of the officials possibly implicated in the shooting, and this was creating a situation of “nervous exhaustion” for the mineworkers and their families.

They were also worried that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was on the board of Lonmin Platinum at the time, would interfere with the report.

Zuma's counsel had argued there was never any doubt that Zuma would hand the report over by June 30, and that the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to rule on a decision by the president. This should be done by the Constitutional Court.

The court was packed with supporters of the miners and their families and next of kin.

Some wore the green blankets associated with the miners on strike at the time, and overalls with Amcu logo carefully sewn on, or bright green track suit tops.

The court was so full that people sat on the ground on every available space.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  marikana inquiry

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