Miners want to halt Marikana hearings, but commission says it has to carry on

2013-07-21 06:00

Mine workers plan to march to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry tomorrow to ask Judge Ian Farlam to suspend the commission’s work.

“We are going to ask Farlam ourselves that at this time the commission should not carry on until the highest court in the land has decided on our matter,” said one of the miners arrested during the August 16 shooting in Marikana.

A high court application aimed at forcing government to pay for the arrested and injured miners’ legal representation at the commission was dismissed this week.

On Tuesday, the families of the 34 miners who were killed also provisionally pulled out of the commission – in solidarity with the injured and arrested miners. Said one of the deceased family members: “On Monday (tomorrow) we’ll go with the miners to ask that the commission is stopped until the miners have the funds they need. We weren’t there when our brothers and fathers were killed, so how can we sit when the only side that will be heard is that of the police?”

Mzoxolo Magidiwana, one of the wounded miners, said the support from the families was greatly appreciated.

“The commission was established for everyone and not merely the police,” said Magidiwana.

Tshepho Mahlangu, spokesperson for the commission, said the commission would carry on as planned.

“The initial request from the representatives of the wounded and arrested said that they requested leave until the judgment in the Pretoria high court (the North Gauteng High Court), so we don’t know what they plan to do now. Even if they request for the commission to be postponed on Monday we have to go on,” said Mahlangu who also hinted that Mpofu’s team could go to the court to interdict the commission to suspend its work until the outcome of the Constitutional Court application.

On Thursday, when the North Gauteng High Court dismissed the application for the state to fund legal representation for the wounded and arrested miners, Advocate Dali Mpofu said they would take the matter to the Constitutional Court. But this cannot happen until Judge Joseph Raulinga has released the written judgement.

Andries Nkome, attorney for the arrested and wounded miners, said the written judgment should be available on Tuesday.

But the wounded and arrested miners’ representatives said that they had already started drafting the application, which will be brought next week.

The representatives will request the court to grant them interim funding.

“If we fail on this one, there is no other avenue we’ll be able to follow,” Nkome said.

The miners, on the other hand, said they would not return to the commission until they had been granted funding.

“How can we fight the police and the mine to tell our truth when we have no funding like they do. Like everyone else, we want the commission to come to a conclusion so we can carry on with our lives,” said one of the miners.

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