WATCH | Govt not dragging its feet regarding Marikana reparations - solicitor general

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  • The government rejected claims that it is dragging its feet to pay Marikana-related reparation.
  • It says R69 083 005 have been paid out in settlements for those injured and killed.  
  • All litigation against the government relating to Marikana has been centralised under the office of the Attorney General. 

The government has rejected claims that it is dragging its feet in its efforts to pay reparation to families of Marikana miners injured and killed during and leading up to the massacre in 2012. 

Instead, the government, responding through Solicitor General Fhedzisani Pandelani, said all possible attempts had been made to speedily finalise all the claims against the government emanating from the events leading up to and including the bloody 16 August 2021 massacre. 

"We have been requested to talk about the status in the coordination and management of matters relating to the Mariana litigations, we thought it is important to give a narrative from where we stand since a number of matters where [proffered] as claims against the state since the unfortunate incident [Marikana massacre]," said Pandelani. 

Police officers open fire on striking mineworkers outside the Nkageng informal settlement in Marikana on 16 August 2012.

He added that an initial lawsuit was brought against the government by a grouping represented by the Wits law clinic - and that had since been paid to the tune of R3 995 121. 

READ | Malema gives NPA an ultimatum to prosecute Ramaphosa for his role in Marikana massacre

"There are no outstanding matters being handled by the Wits law clinic," said Pandelani, who did not give clarity on whether the claims were brought by families of the deceased or by miners who incurred injuries. 

Pandelani also revealed that there were 36 claims instituted by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) against the government on behalf of families who had lost their loved ones. 

He added: 

Thirty-five of these matters have been finalised and payment has been made.

According to Pandelani, in total, the government had settled to the tune of R69 083 005 million, which had been "paid and payment has been confirmed".  

He elaborated that had the "once and for all" rule, which is entrenched in common law, and states that a plaintiff must claim in one action all damages, both already sustained and prospective, was followed, then the government would not have any outstanding payments left to pay to the families represented by SERI. 

READ | Marikana: Still no justice

"However, the SERI came back after we paid the just under R70 million and demanded general and constitutional demands claim which is not something that is easy to quantity… however in the spirit of humanity, we agreed to pay each family R500 000... a figure that was turned down by SERI," said Pandelani.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) dance and sing around Wonderkop Hill during the 4th anniversary of the Marikana shooting in Rustenburg in 2016.

He claimed that the SERI came back with a counter offer of R1.5 million per family and the matter was still in court. 

According to Pandelani, the families, through SERI, were the ones delaying the matter, rather than the government dragging its feet. 

"The only way to resolve the matter is through taking it back to court, but we wish they could meet us somewhere, given that payments of almost R70 million have already been made.

A remembrance cross made of flowers is seen during a of the 2012 Marikana massacre.

As proof of the government's willingness to speedily resolve the reparation process, Pandelani said the government had centralised all litigation against it under the office of the Attorney General. 

With regards to delays in making payments to those who sustained injuries, Pandelani said they had made offers to one law firm representing one grouping with such claims, and were waiting for feedback on whether their clients would accept the amount being offered.

READ | Marikana massacre: Nine years on, what has been done?

With regards to 275 other claims arising from injuries, the government had received documentation for 253 of these claims, which were being processed.

There were delays with the remaining claims, based on the law firm either not being able to locate their clients or struggling with taking their clients for assessment by state doctors before any payments could be made. 

The government's update on the Marikana reparations comes after unions, civil society organisations, political figures and families of the deceased or injured miners lambasted the manner in which it was handling the processing of payments and prosecution during Monday's ninth anniversary commemoration of the massacre. 

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