Mpofu queries witness subpoenas

2012-11-26 15:48

Rustenburg - An attorney for the mineworkers arrested after the 16 August shooting at Marikana has threatened to approach the High Court for intervention.

Subpoenas had been sent for advocate Dali Mpofu’s clients, urging them to appear before the Farlam commission, which is conducting public hearings in the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

The witnesses did not turn up, even when their names were called out at the commission by the evidence-leading team.

Mpofu said his clients had murder charges hanging over their heads and were wary of making statements at the hearings.

“The people are outside. We are taken aback very much by the subpoenas issued against my clients,” said Mpofu.

“For these people charged with murder, it is their and our preference that if they come to testify, they should be led by legal representatives of their choice."

‘Professional courtesy’

He said he would approach the high court to have the subpoenas suspended.

After a short adjournment, Mpofu said there was no consensus reached on the subpoenas.

“Nobody has told us until now about the people they want to subpoena. If they [the subpoenas] are not going to be withdrawn here, then they will be withdrawn elsewhere,” he said.

“There was no courtesy done on our part to indicate that our clients will be needed."

However, leader of the evidence-leading team, advocate Mbuyiseli Madlanga, disputed Mpofu’s assertions, saying the team was notified as a “professional courtesy”.

“We do not want the issue of subpoenas to cloud the real issues here. We will not stand in the way of Mr Mpofu approaching the high court to have the subpoenas set aside,” said Madlanga.

He said if Mpofu was ready, he could lead the witnesses in giving evidence to the commission.

The three-member commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is holding public hearings as part of a probe into the killing of 44 people during wage-related violence in Marikana, North West.

Four months to finish work

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead on 16 August and 78 wounded when police tried to disperse the protesters, who had gathered on a hill near the mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death near Lonmin's platinum mine.

The commission was later announced by President Jacob Zuma.

The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj. Its mandate is to probe the mine violence and the resultant killing of the 44.

Zuma said the commission would complete its work within four months, and had to submit its final report a month later.

  • Deon - 2012-11-26 16:24

    Have the miners something to hide? Let them testify.

  • mullervince - 2012-11-26 16:45

    Is he an attourney??? So, next time if anyone else is subpoenaed, they don't have to pitch up. Shows u how little the new generation "so called" attournies knows about the "real justice system" and makes a mokery out of it to suite them. Now why is this country in such a lawless state.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-11-26 17:37

    Mpofu is right. It's either that subpoenas are withdrawn or his clients face incriminating themselves as there is no gurantee that their testimony would not be used in the criminal court. It goes to show how smart the man is and needs to be commended for defending his clients. He has really shown his mettle as a legal practitioner. I can only hope that others take leaf from his book.

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