Govt obliged to pay Marikana bill - BLA

2012-11-02 22:07

Johannesburg - Government should pay the legal fees of the miners injured or arrested in the Marikana shooting, the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) said on Friday.

"We are of the firm, unwavering belief that in order to guard against either perceived or real travesty of justice and in order to promote parity of arms, there is a positive duty on the State to fund both the victims and their lawyers at the Commission," BLA's Pritzman Busani Mabunda said in a statement.

"It can't be countenanced in a constitutional democracy that funding is construed to be selective at the expense of the poor and downtrodden."

Legal Aid SA had said earlier in the week it would not help the miners who were injured or arrested during the shooting in Marikana.

It would however continue to provide support to the families of the 34 miners killed on 16 August, but not to the 78 people who were wounded, or the 275 who were arrested.

Given that the police and other government representatives making submissions to the commission were being represented by teams of eminent legal experts at the expense of the taxpayer, Mabunda said fairness dictated the same benefits should apply to the miners and their families.

"There is no good or sound reason why the police... should enjoy upper class representation at the expense of the taxpayer while the same rights are not accorded to the poor victims in the Commission," he said.

"We implore on the government to take a lead and employ positive measures to ensure there is justice to the victims and not create an impression of apparent justice to the perpetrators."

While the policy on provision of legal aid, contained in the Legal Aid Guide, did not make provision for Legal Aid SA to make available legal representation at commissions of inquiry, Mabunda said it was no excuse for government not to assist.

"The legislative impediment constraining the government from making provision of both legal and logistical support...should not serve as a defence for not doing so," he said.

"This is so bearing in mind that the situation in Marikana is of its own kind. It was never anticipated that the nation would find itself in this kind of commission of inquiry as it has manifested itself."

  • Paul Van Schalkwyk - 2012-11-02 22:37

    they must be joking..really...with taxpayers for the criminals laywers and stuff and the cato saps (allegedly these cops took care of CRIMINALS whilst on duty...but they must pay their own fees and stuff ?!?! this beautiful country is going for a ball of ssh*t !

      fussed.anderson - 2012-11-03 06:47

      And what has the White Lawyers Association has to say on this??????

  • Kekeletso.nax - 2012-11-02 22:44

    When no one comments... It means no one cares, Marikana is just getting tired.

  • patricia.dewet.92 - 2012-11-03 00:10

    Why taxpayers. It is time to ask the unions to pay. The family must also be restricted to the wife and not 10 family members.

  • andile.tyhaliti - 2012-11-03 00:19

    These lawyers are only interested on the proceeds they will derive from representing the miners. If they were interested for justice to prevail from the enquiry why the representation of the miners is not an ex gratia? After all they were the one's who offered to help and now they want to be paid? What kind of help is this, expecting something in return?

      J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-11-03 06:07

      These lawyers are afraid they will not be paid by their clients. But now the miners are earning big salaries they can afford to pay AND they will pay much more tax. - Kathy

  • john.morreira.9 - 2012-11-03 06:14

    Imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth, if we were to have a WLA:White Lawyers Association ?

      Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-11-03 08:28

      There are white lawyers association everywhere in the country.Its just that they are cowards to come out in public and admit it.You are just talking nonsense.Everything in this country is racialised,and the experts happens to be whites.

  • hermann.hanekom - 2012-11-03 06:42

    I can't understand why lawyers are needed at a commission of inquiry. Are the witnesses to dumb to lie on their own?

  • Leigh Nicholl - 2012-11-03 06:54

    in other words we as taxpayers will have to pay!! dont worry people that will bill will be fitted under these e-toll payments which seem to be getting higher.

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-11-03 07:24

    Why must my taxpayer money be used to pay legal fees for these people? Bear in mind they were on an illegal strike carrying weapons traditional and otherwise. No doubt these lawyers calling for this want to milk fund as much as possible.

  • Teuneman - 2012-11-03 07:56

    How about NO!

  • Neil Alberts - 2012-11-03 09:25

    yes government please pay for all the black people so u can set right the injustice of the white people!!!! but just remember to also pay for the legal feed of all the white farmers and white people being murdered by racism!!! An eye for an eye then is not Mr government??

  • asdhasgd - 2012-11-03 11:48

    i'd rather slit my own wrist then give the marikan families any of my tax money.

  • gary.desousa.7 - 2012-11-05 12:45

    The goverment is not "obliged" to pay anything more than the costs of running the commission. It has decided to pay for one of the victims family to attend and hopefully also paid the same to the police families for them to attend. They also as gov have the duty to pay for lawyers for the police if required. Nobody told you the BLA to represent the victims,you did it out of what ever drives you to do such things but why should I indirectly fund you or any of your members?

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