Lawyers consider inquiry postponement

2012-10-03 11:39

Rustenburg - Lawyers involved in the judicial inquiry into the Lonmin mine shooting were on Wednesday discussing whether the proceedings should be postponed.

Human rights lawyer George Bizos argued that preparing for the inquiry without hearing the police version of what happened on August 16 was difficult.

"It can't prejudice the families if their [legal] team conveys the police's version to them," Bizos said.
"We should not miss that opportunity today."

Bizos was representing the Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation at the Marikana commission of inquiry.

He said police should not give evidence, but merely state their version of events.

However, the SA Police Service's lawyers said they were not ready to give an account.

Miners shot dead among rocks

Thirty-four miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on them while trying to disperse protesters near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on August 16.

According to some reports since the event, several miners were shot dead among rocks a distance from where the police clashed with main group of striking workers.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza earlier on Wednesday asked the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, to not proceed without the 20 Eastern Cape families of some of the miners killed.

"This commission is about dead people," Ntsebeza said.

"I would be very concerned if the relatives of those who died were absolutely absent."

On Monday, Farlam rejected an application by Ntsebeza to postpone the inquiry for two weeks so the families could come to Rustenburg. Farlam told Ntsebeza the social development department was arranging to bring the families to the hearing.

At the start of public hearings on Wednesday morning Farlam said all parties would be given the opportunity to state their version of the shooting.

Evidence-leading advocate Mbuyiseli Madlanga agreed with postponing the inquiry, but in order not to lose time the legal representatives should remain to chart a way forward.

Proof of identity

He said his colleagues Matthew Chaskalson and Charles Wessely had seen the footage of the shooting, that was apparently six hours long.

Chaskalson said he was ready to hand over the post-mortem reports of 31 of the dead miners.

"One of the post-mortems is still outstanding because the doctor needs to settle the draft," he told the commission.

"Two reports furnished to us... we are not satisfied with the identification... there is no satisfactory proof [of the identity]," he said.

Chaskalson said only three of the post-mortem reports for the 10 people killed before the August 16 shooting were available. The other seven still needed to be located.

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-10-03 12:16

    Not too worry they will take their time,and an arm and a leg.

      matshobana.siziba - 2012-10-03 12:45

      I thought Karikana Inquiry was a total waste of state funds in the name of the rule of law, but postponing it because of the absence of the families of the deceased, who were not even there when the shooting took place is more than absurd. The strikers hacked @ least 10 people (police, security guard & civilians) and the police "retaliated" and some of the perpetrators got killed. I will be up in 'arms' when any of these families get compensation from our hard-earned cash. Actually, the Inquiry Team shud just quit and stop wasting state funds.Say your views on by liking the page.

  • siphiwo.maurice - 2012-10-03 12:19

    Could the inquiry start and conclude this early, the better. The whole country, needs a closure as possibly can and lessons learnt so that, we cannot ever, go back to that tragedy which took the country back by miles. I also wish this inquiry to make sound recommendations to the present order in ensuring that, miners's safety etc, are taken care of.

  • mike.clery - 2012-10-03 13:07

    Law 101 - Request postponements in order to milk the client for as long as possible ....

  • graeme.aitken.545 - 2012-10-03 13:51

    "Blacks have no sense, they have never built a seaworthy boat, never built anything other than grass and wood huts, there is no proof of their development because there are no stone buildings or monuments as proof of civilisation from below Egypt all the way down to South Africa - {Egypt is Arab}.... I didn't say it, HE DID {} and he's a black man.

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