Reconciliation cannot be rushed - Mpofu

2013-09-06 16:08
Police officers at Marikana. (Picture: Sapa)

Police officers at Marikana. (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - Rushing the Farlam Commission of Inquiry will not have a positive impact on the Marikana victims taking part in it, the commission was told on Friday.

Dali Mpofu, for miners wounded and arrested in last year's strike-related unrest at Marikana, said rushing proceedings in a bid to conclude it quickly would not contribute to "restoration".

"The [justice] department has the nerve to say closure is needed and will be achieved by a speedy outcome," said Mpofu.

He has applied for the commission sitting in Centurion to be postponed until he can secure funding for himself and his legal team.

Two parties involved in the commission and the justice department have opposed his application.

Mpofu has in the interim withdrawn from the proceedings but the hearings have continued.

Mpofu argued on Friday that without his clients present, reconciliation would not be achieved.

"Let’s kiss goodbye [to] any form of reconciliation if the commission [goes on without the victims]," said Mpofu.

"You need all the parties there. You cannot reconcile with yourself."

Earlier, he told the commission the justice department had no right to interfere in the commission.

"It is unfortunate and inappropriate as they are not parties in the commission," he said.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during the unrest at Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana near Rustenburg in the North West.

Police shot dead 34 people, almost all of them striking mineworkers, as they attempted to disperse them on 16 August 2012.

Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

The commission was established by President Jacob Zuma shortly after the unrest.

External input

Mpofu argued that Zuma was the only external force that could have an input in the commission.

"The president can take advice from his ministers but that does not mean that the minister [of justice] can directly interfere in the commission," he said.

"This affects the independence of the commission. It is inappropriate and ill-advised."

Mpofu said evidence leaders were not completely independent as they were on the justice department's payroll.

He argued that the evidence leaders cross-examined witnesses on his behalf without having solid knowledge of his arguments.

He said he only prepared a two-page report for the evidence leaders to be able to pose questions on his behalf.

Mpofu said although he did not blame the evidence leaders, this was a gross injustice.

Read more on:    ian farlam  |  jacob zuma  |  dali mpofu  |  marikana inquiry

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