Lonmin turns down legal fee request

2013-08-16 17:27
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Platinum miner Lonmin has turned down a request to help pay the legal fees of miners taking part in the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, it said on Friday.

Lonmin human capital manager Abey Kgotle confirmed he had sent a letter to the Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation, which made the request, in this regard.

He said no further comment would be made.

According to the letter the company notes the foundation's application and says it was duly considered.

It reads: "We certainly support you in the belief that it is right that all interested parties continue to have a voice at the commission. However, given the conflict inherent in Lonmin providing financial assistance to a party with whom it may be in opposition and the negative perceptions this could raise, we cannot accede to your requests."

The foundation sent the letter on 25 July.

Following Lonmin's response on Tuesday, foundation project manager Lebogang Moima asked for a meeting to further discuss the reasoning behind the request.

Kgotle confirmed the meeting request and said it would be arranged, refusing to provide further details.

On 10 August last year, rock drillers at Lonmin's Marikana operations, outside Rustenburg in North West, embarked on an unprotected strike for a monthly salary of R12 500.

More workers joined the strike and the protesters gathered on a hill near the Nkaneng informal settlement, some carrying weapons such as pangas, spears, knobkerries, and iron rods.

Thirty-four workers were killed when police fired on them on 16 August while attempting to disperse and disarm them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related unrest in the preceding week.

Commission of Inquiry

President Jacob Zuma established the Farlam Commission of Inquiry to investigate the deaths.

In June Dali Mpofu, for the wounded and arrested miners, told the commission that due to financial constraints his team could be forced to withdraw from the inquiry.

He brought an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria several weeks ago seeking state funding, but this was dismissed.

Mpofu then took the state to the Constitutional Court, asking that it pay for his legal team.

The Constitutional Court was to have delivered judgment on Friday but postponed the ruling until Monday.

The commission's proceedings have been postponed several times while solutions to the funding problems were sought.

Government has so far spent about R6.7m on legal representation for police.

Moima said the foundation considered itself a mouthpiece for the disadvantaged and the request formed part of its advocacy responsibilities.

"We are hoping our meeting with Lonmin will just be progressive in a way that they will pay, even just partly. It's important that even Lonmin must show commitment."

Read more on:    lonmin  |  jacob zuma  |  dali mpofu  |  marikana inquiry  |  marikana anniversary

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