INVESTIGATION: President Jacob Zuma on Thursday announced the names of commissioners for the judicial commission of inquiry on the Marikana tragedy.
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: AVUSA

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has announced the terms of reference of a judicial inquiry to probe the events that led to the deaths of 44 people at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine last week, sparing no party to the incident, including the police, the company itself and the unions.

The commission of inquiry will be chaired by Ian Farlam, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Its other members are Adv Bantubonke Tokota SC, who acted in the Eastern Cape labour division, and Adv Pingla Hemraj SC, who acted as a judge in the Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown high courts.

The commission will probe Lonmin to determine whether the company did enough to resolve the labour dispute, whether it responded appropriately to the violence and whether it, "by act or omission", created an environment conducive to the creation of tension or labour unrest.

It will also investigate police action and look into the role the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) played in the impasse.

At the Marikana mine outside Rustenburg, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed after workers downed tools and demanded a R12,500 wage hike, and 34 people were killed in a shootout with police.

The unrest was fuelled by rivalry between the established and politically connected NUM and relative newcomer Amcu.

The commission will look into the role played by government departments or agencies, including the Department of Mineral Resources, in relation to the incidents.

It appears that claims made by the NUM of a "third force" at play will also be scrutinised.

"The commission will also look into the conduct of individuals and loose groupings in fomenting and or promoting a situation of conflict and confrontation, which may have given rise to the tragic incidents," Mr Zuma said.

The president, who received a lukewarm reception from workers on Wednesday, was speaking as thousands gathered to mourn the tragedy at Marikana and across the country.

Amcu had earlier expressed scepticism over whether the inquiry would get to the root of the dispute, and called for an "independent" commission of inquiry.