Justice for a travesty

2014-11-09 15:00

Twelve lawyers began their final arguments on Wednesday before retired Judge Ian Farlam at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Farlam, who has been so careful to conduct proceedings with fairness and integrity, sat before a crowd of miners’ families, tearful widows, the loved ones of slain police and security officers, and members of mining unions Amcu and the NUM.

Top of mind was a desire to get to the truth of what happened that week in August 2012, when the lives of 44 people were put to a brutal end. But when they began their arguments, the commission’s evidence leaders cast doubts over whether the truth would ever be fully revealed.

“The unfortunate truth is that, with some honourable exceptions, many witnesses before the commission gave false evidence,” said Advocate Geoff Budlender.

He might have been referring to police commissioner Riah Phiyega, who hid the fact that she and her top brass held a meeting the night before the massacre and then forgot what they discussed at that meeting.

It was a police whistle-blower who testified that the SA Police Service ordered four mortuary vans and an extra 4?000 rounds of ammunition to the scene the morning of the massacre.

The testimony of the police’s star witness, Mr X, was found to be so bad that several parties, including the evidence leaders, have asked Farlam to disregard it.

Police witnesses continued to claim self-defence regarding the killing of strikers who were hiding behind rocks at scene two.

We can only hope that through the morass of lies, some truth will emerge and those responsible for the killings will face justice.

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