Settlement draws closer for Marikana families

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Strike leader Mgcineni Noki, also known as the man in green blanket, rallies the miners at Marikana ahead of their encounter with police that left more than 35 miners dead, shot by the police. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press
Strike leader Mgcineni Noki, also known as the man in green blanket, rallies the miners at Marikana ahead of their encounter with police that left more than 35 miners dead, shot by the police. Picture: Leon Sadiki/City Press

Families of the slain Marikana mineworkers are expecting a settlement of about R80 million.

This is according to the director of litigation at the Socioeconomic Rights Institute, Nomzamo Zondo, who is one of the lawyers who have been representing the families of 36 striking mine workers, who were killed by police on August 13 and 16 2012.

Although initial reports had put the figure at about R100 million, Zondo said that putting an actual number to the settlement was tricky, because different families have been offered different amounts, and there are legal technicalities which were at play per individual case.

“So a majority of what has been put on the table is for loss of support claims, meaning that it is meant to replace the lifetime of salaries which have now been lost by the slain mineworkers who supported their families. Then there are also claims of general damages, which relates to things like the healing and reparations as a result of the pain and loss of their loved ones that the families are going through,” Zondo told City Press.

She said that in general the families were happy, but there were also families who were excluded from the offers based on legal technicalities.

“The state is disputing some of the claims based on who can make the claims. For example, in the case of siblings who were supported by the mineworkers, there has been loss that has been suffered. The law allows you to claim financial dependency. So we’ve been negotiating for a long time,” she said.

Despite the ongoing negotiations, Zondo was confident that the matter was close to conclusion.

“There’s a feeling of the end being near. The families want that as well,” she said.

According to the final report which was submitted to former president Jacob Zuma in March 2015 and made public in June that year, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, which was chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, recommended that inquiries into the fitness of Riah Phiyega, who was police commissioner at the time of the massacre, and the North West Police Commission Zukiswa Mbombo should be held. Phiyega was suspended on full pay.

During the Claassen board of inquiry, which was set up following the Marikana inquiry into her fitness to hold office, Phiyega was found guilty of guilty of misconduct

The commission concluded that she was in breach of her duties by failing to control the police’s violent reaction to the striking mineworkers, which resulted in the police opening fire on them.

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