Lawyers to appeal Marikana funding case

2013-07-18 22:01

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Johannesburg - Lawyers for the victims of the Marikana shootings said on Thursday that they would appeal the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria judgment that dismissed an application for the state to fund legal representation.

"We have received the decision and we are going to study it and consult with the other parties that were sympathetic with our cause," attorney Muzi Msimang said.

"We're likely to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

"The judgment will not deter us because that is the nature of our legal system...if you're not happy you approach another court who might rule in your favour."

The court in Pretoria on Thursday dismissed an application for the state to fund legal representation for the victims of the Marikana shootings.

"I agree with the state that the application cannot succeed," Judge Joseph Raulinga said on Thursday.

"The application is dismissed. I need to say that nothing prevents the parties from settling this matter outside the courts."

Dali Mpofu, acting for the wounded and arrested Marikana miners at the hearings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, brought the urgent application for the state to fund their legal representation.

Certified

He wanted President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to approve state payment of the mineworkers' legal team.

The judge found the application was urgent and "class action" for the case was certified. There was no order as to costs.

Msimang said the judge made a remark after passing judgment that the parties should consider settling the matter out of court.

He said the wounded and arrested miners gave them instructions not to proceed with the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the shooting.

"We will approach the commission and ask for a postponement, if they say no the commission will have to go on without us," he said.

"If the commission continues without us - it will be one-sided."

The commission is investigating the deaths of 34 striking mineworkers, shot by police at Marikana in North West on 16 August last year and the deaths of 10 people in strike-related violence the previous week.

Meanwhile, Legal Aid SA said it accepted the ruling and that if the judge ordered it to provide funding in commissions there would be less funding available for other cases.

"This clarifies the organisation's mandate in as far as commissions are concerned - that we are not funded to provide legal aid in commissions of inquiry," CEO Vidhu Vedalankar said in a statement.

"If the court had ruled that we should provide legal aid in this instance, this would have affected the sustainability of the organisation in providing access to justice in criminal and civil legal aid matters for the poor and vulnerable."

She said Legal Aid opposed the application.

After Raulinga read the judgment into the record, Mpofu asked him to indicate when the typed judgment would be available so that he could launch an urgent application at the Constitutional Court.

The application was urgent as it would have implications for the commission.



- SAPA

Read more on:    marikana inquiry
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