Marikana families lose travel funding

2012-10-27 21:09
The families of the victims of the Marikana killings will no longer receive funds from the department of justice to travel to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. (Felix Dlangamandla‘)

The families of the victims of the Marikana killings will no longer receive funds from the department of justice to travel to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. (Felix Dlangamandla‘)

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Johannesburg - The families of the victims of the Marikana killings will no longer receive funds from the department of justice to travel to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, the department said on Saturday.

"There is no legal basis on which the attendance of the family members or representatives can be sustained on state expense," said justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga in a statement.

The department had helped pay the travel costs of the families to attend the first session of the inquiry but financing further attendance would be left to the families themselves.

Many of the families of victims are not from North West but other provinces such as the Eastern Cape.

"The attendance of the first session of the commission was mainly based on humanitarian basis as it is important that they understand the primary purpose of the inquiry," Mhaga said.

"Further attendance of the inquiry would be left to the choice of the families themselves."

Legislative basis

He said the department could not continue funding the travel of family members to attend the commission because it had no legislative basis.

If family members were called as witnesses to the commission, their travel expenses would be covered.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) criticised the withdrawal of funding by the department.

"This bizarre decision can only undermine the credibility and integrity of the commission whose primary focus ought to be on the victims of this national tragedy," chair Sipho Pityana said in a statement.

Justice department director general Nonkululeko Sindane made the decision to withdraw assistance to the victims, he said.

He called on President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Justice, Jeff Radebe to reverse Sindane's decision.

"Should this not be done, we call upon Judge Ian Farlam to suspend the proceedings of the inquiry until the participation of the families is guaranteed."
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