Legal aid needs R17m for Marikana

2013-10-16 14:40

Legal Aid SA will need R17 million to honour this week’s court judgment ordering it to provide legal representation for the miners injured and arrested at Marikana, it told MPs.

“The new total of our exposure in Marikana is R17 million if we take into account the judgment,” Legal Aid SA CEO Vidhu Vedalankar told Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice today.

On Monday, Judge Tati Makgoka in the high court in Pretoria set aside Legal Aid SA’s refusal to pay for representation for the wounded and arrested mine workers before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

He ordered it to take immediate steps to provide legal funding for their participation before the commission, and to pay their costs.

Vedalankar said Legal Aid SA had spent R2 million so far representing the families of the miners who died last year when police opened fire on striking workers at a hill near the platinum mine.

The required amount of R17 million would cover the extended representation until the end of the current financial year, she said.

Vedalankar said the organisation would have to scale back on its support to others who needed legal representation, because it did not have the additional funding for Marikana in its R1.4 billion budget.

“We don’t have that money, so we will have to cut back on some other items.”

The entity was briefing the committee on its annual report.

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