Solicitor-General promises to resolve Marikana claims before end of the month

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A remembrance cross made of flowers at Marikana.
A remembrance cross made of flowers at Marikana.
Felix Dlangamandla/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Image

NEWS


Forty-eight legal claims relating to damages suffered during the Marikana massacre a decade ago are before the court, but none cite President Cyril Ramaphosa as a defendant.

Solicitor-General Fhedzisani Pandelani said on Wednesday that half of the legal claims, which include general damages (pain and suffering) and special damages (loss of income and medical care) had been resolved.

READ: Explainer | How court concluded that Ramaphosa can be sued for Marikana tragedy

The 2012 massacre occurred on August 16 when police opened fire on striking Lonmin Platinum Mine workers in Marikana near Rustenburg in North West. Thirty-four mineworkers were killed and 78 others were injured during this incident, which was precipitated by a wildcat strike initiated by rock drillers who demanded to be paid R12 500 after all deductions.

Before this massacre, 10 people, including police and mine security guards, had also been killed as tensions flared up between the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Ramaphosa was a Lonmin board member.

READ: Ramaphosa can be sued for Marikana, says judge

The Johannesburg High Court found last month that a case could be made that he “participated in, masterminded and championed the toxic collusion” between Lonmin and the police that led to the Marikana massacre.

The ruling has galvanised the 349 surviving Marikana mineworkers to hold Ramaphosa personally liable for compensation for their injuries. The workers want R1 billion in compensation.

Pandelani said that there had been no request from Ramaphosa to be funded to defend himself on the Marikana claims or to be represented by state attorneys.

He said:

None of the matters has the president cited, whether its matters we’ve settled relating to the loss of support or malicious prosecution.

Over R76 million paid

Pandelani said that 24 of the 48 claims had been settled and the deadline was to see all cases settled this month.

“The other matters are undergoing some discussions to reach settlements or to be referred to the Deputy Judge President if there is no settlement. There is no contestation or dispute about the causation and the merits. It has been conceded a long time ago that compensation must be paid.

“The dispute is about quantum on issues of pain and suffering.”

READ: Families of Marikana victims want more than the R500 000 offered by state

He, however, added that he would be in contempt of court if he postulated on the outstanding cases and the quantum.

Pandelani said that just under R76 million had been paid to the families of the dead mineworkers and R3.5 million had been paid to one survivor of the carnage.

“It is regrettable that we are still talking of issues from 10 years ago. I’ve given an instruction to the Office of the State Attorney for these matters to be finalised as soon as possible. We have never had a policy to compel the state for speedy settlement of matters, but I have drafted five policies applicable to all departments. Matters like these should not be delayed inordinately,” he said.


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