Seri praises Marikana judgment

2013-10-14 18:49

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Johannesburg - The ruling by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday ordering Legal Aid SA to pay the legal costs of the survivors of the Marikana shooting was welcomed by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri).

Seri represents the families of 36 of the miners who died at Marikana, it said in a statement.

"This judgment is a victory for the victims of Marikana who stood united in the fight for the funding of the injured and arrested miners," said the families' attorney Nomzamo Zondo.

"The families feel vindicated that their decision to withdraw from the [Farlam] Commission in order to support the miners was warranted, even though they themselves were funded."

She said the families were excited about returning to the commission to continue their "search for the truth".

Earlier on Monday, the court ruled that Legal Aid pay the legal expenses at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry for those who survived the Marikana shooting last year.

The application was brought by Dali Mpofu, who represents the miners who were wounded and arrested at Marikana.

The miners have not been represented at the commission recently because of a lack of funding.

Seri confirmed that lawyers for the families of the deceased miners and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) would continue to participate in the commission's proceedings from Tuesday.

Families pulled out

The families pulled out of the commission in solidarity with the arrested and wounded miners who were denied state funding, with the families party to the legal proceedings to secure funding.

Seri executive director Stuart Wilson said Judge Tati Makgoka had restored the soul of the commission with the ruling.

"His careful, sensitive and compassionate judgment affirms the dignity, not only of the miners themselves, but also of the families of those who fell at Marikana.

"It would be a sign of equal grace and compassion if the state and Legal Aid chose not to appeal the judgment."

It was clearly in the public interest for the commission to finish its work as soon as possible with the full participation of the miners.

"Justice will not be served if the miners continue to participate in the commission with the threat that their legal funding being taken away on appeal," he said.

The inquiry is investigating the circumstances of the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin Platinum's operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West last year.

The police shot dead 34 people, mostly striking workers, wounded 70, and arrested 250 on 16 August 2012. In the preceding week, 10 people died, including two policemen and two security guards.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  amcu  |  dali mpofu  |  johannesburg  |  marikana inquiry

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