Farlam rejects request for Marikana commission postponement

2012-10-01 11:59

Retired judge Ian Farlam has rejected an application to have the Marikana Commission of Inquiry postponed.

Earlier this morning Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who represents 20 of the families of the miners who had died on August 16, said his legal team had established that the relatives of the deceased had not been made aware that the commission would be sitting today.

Ntsebeza said the families, who are based in the Eastern Cape, wished to be part of the proceedings, particularly the planned visit to the site of the shooting where their loved ones had died.

However, after a brief adjournment, Advocate George Bizos, who is representing the Legal Resources Centre “to represent the Constitution and people’s rights”, raised an objection to the request for a postponement.

Bizos said although he was sympathetic to the plight of the families, it had to be taken into consideration that the country is waiting for a speedy response from the commission. Bizos said provision could be made to bring the families to the area at a later stage.

Advocate Ishmael Semenya, who represents the police, said during the proceedings he had learned that ballistic reports for the August 16 shooting would only be ready at the end of this month.

However, Farlam said the commission was not a court of law and would proceed regardless, but he appealed for those responsible for providing the required information to treat the matter with urgency.

Farlam, the chairperson of the commission, said proceedings of the in-loco inspection this afternoon would be filmed and families could view this at a later stage. Arrangements could be made to take them to the site.

He also appealed to media houses to provide the commission with edited and unedited footage of the events prior to August 16, saying he did not think this would compromise anyone.

The in-loco inspection of Marikana hill and other areas to be determined, is expected to start at 2:30pm

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry said in a statement it “is committed to full participation of all affected parties including the families of the deceased and survivors of the tragedy.

We regret that some family members and survivors could not be part of the opening session of the Commission due to logistical challenges.

The Commission believes that the involvement of families and next of kin is central to the process of healing and restoration.

The commission is moving with great speed to ensure that the situation is rectified and that all concerned parties are able to participate.

Travel agencies have been engaged with a view to ensuring that families attend hearings that affect them.”

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