Govt disrespecting us - Marikana claimants

2015-12-09 16:25
(File, Leon Sadiki, City Press)

(File, Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Johannesburg - The miners injured and arrested during the Marikana shooting, as well as the families of those who were killed, have accused the government of disrespecting them.

On Tuesday, the Presidency issued a statement announcing that government lawyers would invite the legal representatives of all those involved in the Marikana civil claim to a round-table discussion.

However, lawyers for the claimants said they had not received any formal communication from the government.

"It is not the first time the Presidency has come out and issued a statement that says they would like to expeditiously sit around a table with us and negotiate settlements," Andries Nkome, for the injured and arrested miners, told News24.

He said, since the first media statement issued by the Presidency in September regarding a dispute resolution process, government lawyers had not called or written to them.

"So it just cements... that the president is contentiously dealing with them because he is not directing any communications through the lawyers, but he just issues media statements."

Earlier this year, President Jacob Zuma announced that the government was looking at starting the process to expedite all claims arising from the Marikana shooting. He said a judge, assisted by experts, would lead the process.

Alternative resolution process

At the time, the Presidency said government was still considering the recommendations made by the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, which investigated the deaths of 44 people - 34 of whom were killed by police - during strike-related violence at Marikana in August 2012.

In October, in yet another statement, the Presidency said government was still preparing for the alternative dispute resolution process to address the consequences of the Marikana shooting.

Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI) attorney Kathleen Hardy on Wednesday said the families of the 37 killed mineworkers were not happy with the way the matter was being handled by government.

"The families are arguably upset by the way the state is conducting itself in this process," she told News24.

"The only time we ever hear anything about a settlement is when the president decides to issue a media statement."

'State wants to litigate this through the media'

The families were being represented by SERI, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Wits Law Clinic.

Hardy said her office had not received any formal communication from the government's lawyers.

"There has been zero engagement.

"It seems the state wants to litigate this through the media. So until we receive anything formal in writing... we just continue with the process which is before the court."

‘The sooner the better’

Nkome said the court process was running its course and the state had issued its response to the civil claim.

However, his clients wanted to settle the matter out of court.

"The sooner this happens the better."

Hardy said the state had served an exception to their claim, based on the grounds that it was "vague and embarrassing" for various reasons, however they had filed it late.

"They had 20 days to file that and they filed it out of time. I then filed a notice of bar which gives you an extension of five days... and they filed it outside of those five days.

"So technically, for the court to consider their response, they would have to apply to court because they have filed it out of time."

She said this was causing a huge delay.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  marikana inquiry

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