Marikana commission to probe Lonmin’s response to threat of violence

2012-08-23 14:41

The judicial commission of inquiry into the Marikana mine massacre will probe, among others, whether Lonmin PLC, the world’s third-biggest producer of platinum, “responded appropriately” to the threat of violence which eventually left 44 miners dead.

Addressing the media at the Union Buildings in Pretoria this afternoon, President Jacob Zuma announced that he had appointed retired Supreme Court of Appeal Court Judge Ian Furlam to chair the inquiry and advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj as additional members.

Zuma, who was speaking as hundreds of people were gathered for a memorial service in Marikana in the North West, said the commission would have four months to conduct its probe and report back to him.

“The commission will have the necessary powers, including the power to enter and search premises, secure the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of documents,” said Zuma.

Also to be probed will be the role of the police, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), and the department of minerals.

This includes:

» Whether the use of force by the police was “reasonable and justifiable”;

» The “extent to which (Amcu and NUM) exercised effective control over (their) membership”. The commission will also probe whether the unions had exercised their “best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have arisen between” them and any other parties.

» The role played by the department of minerals “or any other government department or agency in relation to the incidents and whether this was appropriate in the circumstances, and consistent with their duties and obligations according to law”.

Zuma said the commission would also probe the conduct of individuals or any “loose groupings” for any acts in fermenting the violence that erupted two weeks ago.

The terms of reference may be changed or added to, from time to time, depending on the needs of the commission, which will submit monthly reports and recommendations to the president.

“The commission shall, where appropriate, refer any matter for prosecution, further investigations or the convening of a separate inquiry to the appropriate law enforcement agency, government department or regulator, regarding the conduct of any person or persons,” said Zuma.

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