Zuma needs time to 'get to grips' with Marikana report - advocate

2015-06-08 16:30
(Leanne Stander, Foto24)

(Leanne Stander, Foto24)

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is not being irrational by waiting until June 30 to ''get to grips with'' the Marikana report, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

''He will need to respond to difficult questions as soon as the report is released,'' Zuma's advocate Hilton Epstein said in the High Court in Pretoria.

Mzoxolo Magidwana, who was among those shot on August 16 2012, during a protracted platinum workers strike for a minimum salary of R12 500 a month, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) brought the application for it to be released immediately.

Retired Judge Ian Farlam handed over his findings to Zuma on March 31 on the events before the shooting, in which 10 people were killed. 

Epstein said it would be a ''significant political blunder'' if he released it before being familiar with its contents.

''He must fully understand the consequences of the report to be able to answer important questions.''

'It's a perfectly valid reason'

Zuma said in an affidavit that Farlam had worked full-time on the report, which is why he could finish it in four months. He does not have that allowance and needed three more weeks.

''It's not irrational. It's a perfectly valid, understandable, acceptable reason,'' said Epstein.

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, said the Truth and Reconcilation Report on apartheid-atrocities was just as weighty, and was released immediately.

Ntsebeza said for years people had seen image upon image of their loved ones being killed, on the television and in the media.

He said there were two contested stories: the police were defending their lives during the strike, and the other was that a victim such as Thembinkosi Gwelani died after one shot hit him in the back of the head.

It was important to appreciate why it was important for his sister to get the report, said Ntsebeza.

It is because when he was shot dead, he was about 200m away, and this must be seen in the light of the defence police gave to the commission that he was acting in self defence.

''Imagine two rugby fields, one put next to each other and a person is shot by one single shot. If that shooting is classified as self defence, then we need a redefinition of self defence.''

''This is a big moment for us. We need certainty. On a particular date we are getting a report.''

Judge Neil Tuchten asked Epstein to take instructions on which date exactly that the report would be made public, instead of ''by 30 June''. After a short break Tuchten was told ''on the 30th''.

However, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, for the mineworkers, said this was not good enough.

What happened if ''political heavyweights'' who needed to see the report, said ''very sorry", and that they were overseas, and so the report could not be released as planned on that date.

This was akin to asking the surivors and families of the shootings to sit with their pain for at least another 22 days.

Read more on:    farlam commission  |  jacob zuma  |  dumisa ntsebeza  |  dali mpofu  |  pretoria  |  marikana inquiry

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