State must foot Marikana legal bill - DA

2013-08-19 20:59
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Government should step in and fund the legal costs of miners wounded and arrested in the Marikana shootings last year, the DA said on Monday.

"The DA fully respects the decision of the Constitutional Court, which is based on upholding the doctrine of separation of powers," Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said in a statement.

"It remains completely unacceptable, however, that the justice department cannot expand its budget to accommodate the legal fees of the victims of the Marikana massacre, without being instructed to do so."

Mazibuko was responding to a ruling earlier by the Constitutional Court in which an application to compel the State to fund the miners' legal costs was dismissed.

The legal costs relate to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin Platinum's mining operations in Marikana, North West, last year.

Mazibuko said denying the mineworkers a right to legal representation would taint the credibility of the commission.

A number of miners were also wounded in the shootings as well as arrested afterwards.

Attempts to get the State to pay for their legal representation at the commission have failed so far.

Mazibuko said she would write to President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to request that the department make funds available for the miners.

Thirty-four people - almost all striking mine workers - were killed in Marikana on 16 August last year when police fired on them.

Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in the preceding week.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  da  |  jeff radebe  |  lindiwe mazibuko  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  marikana inquiry

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