Worries over cost of Marikana inquiry

2012-10-17 20:03
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Cape Town - The justice department on Wednesday said it was worried about the burden of funding the commission of inquiry into the Marikana shooting.

The commission is footing the R75m bill for the Farlam commission, but acting chief financial officer Johan Johnson said the cost to the cash-strapped department may well escalate.

"That was the cost estimate two weeks ago, but with the new developments it might increase," he said on the sidelines of the department's briefing on its annual report to Parliament's portfolio committee on justice.

"The family members must be able to attend. What will be the cost of the accommodation, fuel?"

Johnson said the department also believed the estimated R40m budgeted for the judicial commission of inquiry into the arms deal could still increase.

"We expect an international component to the inquiry, it could move to foreign countries, and if there is litigation that will also increase the cost."

The department's current budget is R8.9bn and it is set to receive annual growth of 5.9% to 4.6% over the next three years, while expected to fund above-inflation salary increases and operational cost hikes, as well as new services.

The department listed a host of cost containment measures, including temporarily suspending some of its court infrastructure projects, postponing the expansion of the services, and delaying the implementation of legislation.

Against this background, Johnson said the cost of the commissions of inquiry would force it to further trim services unless National Treasury increased its funding.

"If we don't have an [budget] increase it may affect service delivery," he said.

Committee chairperson Luwellyn Landers said he was greatly concerned about the impact the additional expenditure would have on the justice department.

"It's absolutely unfair," he said. "Treasury must help them."

Landers said the committee would consider raising the matter with the finance ministry.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said the burden should not automatically fall on the department.

"If the president announces a commission of inquiry, he must tell Treasury to find the money. He cannot simply expect justice to pay."

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will announce his medium term budget allocation adjustments next week.

- SAPA

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry  |  government spending  |  mining unrest
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