DA wants compensation fund for Marikana victims

2015-06-28 15:22
DA leader Mmusi Maimane (Photo: DA)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane (Photo: DA)

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Johannesburg - Parliament should be recalled this week for an urgent sitting to discuss the findings of the report on the Marikana killings, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

"This must be done in the coming week to allow President [Jacob] Zuma to fully brief the National Assembly on the report and the process going forward," he said at a press conference in Johannesburg.

The party also wants former Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa fired for presiding over an ''under-trained, badly commanded and under-equipped'' police force, as well as national commissioner of police Riah Phiyega who held operational responsibility during the lengthy miners' strike at Lonmin Platinum.

Mthethwa is now Minister of Arts and Culture.

Maimane said the Farlam Commission report on the fatal shootings of August 16, 2012 in which 34 miners were shot during a strike, and the death of 10 people including two security guards and two policemen, gave no closure or assurance that such a tragedy would not occur again.

"Three days after the release of the report it is clear that it has raised more questions than it has provided answers, with no sense of justice for those affected," he said, as further afield the victims's lawyer Dali Mpofu briefed the miners on the report at Marikana.

The miners and the victims' families had expected to be briefed ahead of the public release of the report, but this did not happen. Due to loadshedding, many could not watch it on the national broadcaster.

"It is a disgrace that the president has taken no substantive action to right this terrible wrong."

He said the ruling African National Congress should stop making political appointments by placing the party faithful into jobs they cannot do.

The steps the DA wants to see are:

- Recall Parliament in terms of Section 51(2) of the Constitution for an extraordinary sitting in the coming week;

- Assign political responsibility for the massacre to Mthethwa and fire him in terms of sections 206 and 207 of the Constitution;

- Assign operational responsibility to Phiyega in terms of Section 207 of the Constitution and fire her;

- Institute a full criminal investigation into all those responsible for the deaths of the 44 people, and an alleged cover-up by senior police officials;

- Accelerate the process of reforming the SA Police Service through the implementation of the recommendations made in the report;

- Demilitarise the police, and train public order policemen better;

- Push for legislation in Parliament compelling unions to take responsibility for the actions of their members during the strikes and for unions to be accountable for their members'actions;

- Provide fair compensation to the dependents of the victims of the massacre for past and future loss of support through a compensation fund to provide for families suffering a loss of income.

Accept responsibility and accountability

There was a fundamental need for the government to accept responsibility and accountability for the massacre, he said.

To this end the DA would present the "Marikana Victims Compensaiton Special Appropriation Bill" to Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, when Parliament reconvenes in August.

"We cannot accept that almost three years after the fact there has been a complete lack of any decisive action against those involved in the massacre. The report does little to rectify this miscarriage of justice."

He believed Zuma had failed South Africa and was protecting his friends such as then Lonmin board member and now Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mthethwa, and Phiyega.

DA chief whip in Parliament John Steenhuisen said it was very clear that Zuma avoided parliamentary accountability and oversight by releasing the report on the day Parliament went into recess so that it could not immediately be discussed in the National Assembly.

"I believe we should have done it before Parliament rose and it was very clearly a political strategy on behalf of the African National Congress and President Jacob Zuma not to have this report tabled before Parliament rose."

He said South Africans are aggrieved because although there was operational responsibility, there was no political accountability.

It also added insult to injury to force families to turn to litigation for compensation, and the bill it would present could meet their needs.

The DA cannot table a money bill, only the finance minister can, so it would present the bill to Nene.

On Monday, Maimane will visit Marikana to tell them about what the party plans to do about the report and to explain its proposed compensation bill. He will be joined by DA North West leaders including provincial leader, Joe McGluwa.

Read more on:    nathi mthethwa  |  mmusi maimane  |  riah phiyega  |  jacob zuma  |  marikana inquiry

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