Families quit Marikana inquiry

2013-07-16 18:49

Pretoria - Lawyers for families of miners killed in Marikana, North West, last year, provisionally pulled out of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's proceedings on Tuesday.

Nicole Lewis, who represents the families at the commission, announced after a lunch adjournment that the families were acting in solidarity with the group of mineworkers who were wounded and arrested on 16 August.

"The family members have given instructions for us to place on record. They feel very uncomfortable participating as long as the miners who were injured and arrested aren’t present or at the very least [if] their position is clear," she said.

"As things stand at the moment, they have a very strong feeling that they do not wish to participate further [at the commission]. We will take further instructions from them tomorrow."

Lewis said the families’ final decision would be announced on Thursday.

"Until that time, the family members won’t be participating. I have to ask the commission to excuse me."

Commission chair, retired judge Ian Farlam, asked Lewis whether the families had instructed her to sit in and not participate, or to leave the hearings.

Lewis replied she had been told to leave the room.

"Essentially they don’t want to be present in the commission and they also don’t wish their legal representatives to be present."

Farlam replied: "It’s a pity, but you will have the transcript, to study it. I am not sure if your clients [can] prevent you from doing that."

Extra burden

On Monday, lawyers representing the mineworkers wounded and arrested provisionally pulled out of the commission’s proceedings.

Dali Mpofu announced the decision to withdraw, pending a High Court in Pretoria ruling on his application for the State to fund the legal team.

"Our instructions [from the mineworkers] are to await the judgment and at that point to receive further instructions. In the meantime, we will not be participating for the victims," he said.

"If we are back later on in the week, we will have the extra burden of catching up with what would have happened [at the commission]."

On 21 June, Mpofu told the commission that, due to financial constraints, it could be his last day representing the miners. He then brought the urgent court application seeking funding for representing the mineworkers. Mpofu wants President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to approve payment for the mineworkers' legal team.

The commission is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 mineworkers in strike-related violence in Marikana in August.

On Monday, Mpofu promised that he would update the commission about his team's decision, based on the court outcome.

"Irrespective of the outcome, as professionals, we have a duty to come here and brief the commission. We are not going to just disappear," he said.

Contrary to media reports, the high court ruling could be made "any time from now", he said.

The commission is set to resume on Thursday morning.

  • Godfrey Welman - 2013-07-16 19:07

    Just shut the commission down, the people can see this is becoming a wast of time.

      Sbo Kubeka - 2013-07-16 20:15

      I agree @Sean, including Dali Mpofu. The realization that it's not going to happen has just sunk in.

      Bakkies Bleu - 2013-07-16 20:46

      What happened, happened. No commission is going to change it. The mere fact that Mpofu want out is the fact that he and his fellow lawyers wont make a few bucks. Government doesn't want to pay, so they pull out. Forget the fact that the families wont get anything. They talk a lot but doesn't know what life is really about. Why doesn't he do a bit of pro-Bono work, for the families and not his own pocket. No wonder someone tried to take him out.

  • maraisl - 2013-07-16 19:19

    The money is drying why be there?

  • Nhlanganiso Joseph - 2013-07-16 19:35

    Waste of time,close's impartiality and .credebility is in tatters.

  • proudlysa - 2013-07-16 19:43

    If only the ANC government was not so corrupt as to need commissions to investigate everything they do! (Arms deal, SARS scandal, Marikana....)

  • Sbo Kubeka - 2013-07-16 20:18

    There should never have been an inquiry in the first place, those miners thought they were law unto themselves.

  • Bt Muthwa - 2013-07-16 20:30

    the whole thing must be shut down , all the resources used in that inquiry should have been channelled towards the education of the children of the victims , fact is people dont like to be reminded how greed and beaurocratic incompetence led to the death of their loved ones

  • Mzuvukile Maswana - 2013-07-16 20:39

    This is all about the families of miners killed in Marikana. What about the families of the security guys and the policemen killed earlier? Are they being considered as well or just being flushed down?

      Victor Mahasha - 2013-07-16 20:57

      I think they flushed them, thats what they are good with

  • Victor Mahasha - 2013-07-16 20:51

    How important is it for them to be there, just sitting there listening to things they dont understand

  • Altus Kirsten - 2013-07-16 21:19

    Read the transcripts...classic reply!

  • Cuthbert Murwisi - 2013-07-17 06:28

    Greedy lawyers. They have milked them dry and now they are abandoning them.

  • Tshidi Rantai - 2013-07-17 09:54

    I thought the aim of the commission was to understand what led to death of the people and no legal action will be taken against "the guilty" party. But victims families will receive consolation after the conclusion-hopefully. I am lost at the use of lawyers and family representatives on this matter.

  • Thabiso J. Mxokozeli - 2013-07-18 07:26


  • Keith Kido Sons - 2013-07-18 16:30

    The commission has been rigged. Plain and Simple. It's shocking how a case of this Magnitude is being handled with this Lack of Urgency. The purpose is to delay enough until everyone just gives up. Then once again, the Police/ Law would have got away with murder. It's nothing new.

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