Marikana: Focus shifts to second phase of inquiry

2014-08-19 20:34

It would be unfeasible for the Farlam Commission of Inquiry to embark on a second phase probing the 2012 Marikana unrest, lawyers argue.

“If justice is to be done to the issue of the underlying causes, then a separate and different inquiry must be done,” said Dali Mpofu, who represents hundreds of injured and arrested Lonmin miners, today.

“A commission that is not time-bound and adversarial and dominated by lawyers,” he said at the inquiry’s public hearings in Pretoria.

“The weakness of the present inquiry is that some of the ‘witnesses’, like Cecil John Rhodes, or whoever started the mining industry, cannot be called. Lonmin cannot answer for them.”

The Farlam commission’s second phase was scheduled to investigate the socio-economic and political causes of the Marikana violence.

The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg, in August 2012.

Today, Mpofu said given the time limitations, attempting to probe the second phase issues would not be realistic.

“In fairness, it is known that we have been very adversarial towards Lonmin, but why must Lonmin be visited with the sins of the whole industry?”

He referred to claims by Lonmin mineworker Shadrack Zandisile Mtshamba that apartheid still existed at the platinum mining company.

“I can put my last dollar that it’s not only at Lonmin. It might be right across the entire industry,” said Mpofu.

Mtshamba testified yesterday that white employees got preferential treatment at Lonmin, at the expense of their black counterparts.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the killed miners, suggested that after concluding its work, the Farlam commission may recommend that certain aspects be dealt with by another inquiry.

“That would be preferable because it is in the interest of dealing with that aspect (the causes) very thoroughly and with more time than the remainder of this commission’s time,” he said.

Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson said Lonmin had complained to the inquiry that embarking on the second phase would be unfair.

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