Marikana commission starts in half-empty hall

2012-10-01 09:18

The judicial commission of inquiry into the deaths of 46 people during a strike of Lonmin mineworkers in Marikana got under way in a half-empty hall of the civic centre this morning.

Most of the seats in the gallery were occupied by journalists, state officials and representatives of various NGOs.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, who represents 20 of the families of the miners who 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 on the planned visit to the sight of the shooting where their loved ones had died.

Ntsebeza asked that the families be provided with financial assistance to enable them to attend.
The commission had planned a visit to the site of the shooting this afternoon.

In attendance today was president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) Joseph Mathunjwa, whose union is one of the parties being probed for its role in the strike.

President Jacob Zuma initially announced that the commission would probe the deaths of the 44 people who had died between August 9 and 16.

But it transpired this morning that the commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, will also probe the deaths of two people who had died after the president instituted the commission.

Lawyers, including advocates Ntsebeza, George Bizos, Dali Mpofu, Ishmael Semenya, Kassie Badenhorst and Willem le Roux, who represent various parties, made introductory statements during the session.

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