Bid to postpone Marikana inquiry rejected
AN APPLICATION to postpone the judicial inquiry into the shooting at Lonmin’s Marikana mine was rejected on Monday.
Commission chairman Ian Farlam said the in-loco inspection at Marikana would continue on Monday afternoon.
This was after advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, representing 20 families of those killed, asked the commission to postpone the matter for 14 days.
Earlier, human rights lawyer George Bizos argued against a postponement, saying it would impede the commission and be a waste of money.
"Having the inspection postponed will have very little purpose," Mr Bizos, who was representing the Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation, told the commission conducting the inquiry in Rustenburg.
"Damage will be done because of the delays. South Africa as a whole is anxiously waiting for a decision by the commission," he said.
Mr Ntsebeza wanted a postponement, saying the families of those killed were in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, and did not know the inquiry was starting on Monday.
"They were not told by the commission or anyone else. They are in the rural areas."
He told the commission the families became aware of the hearing only when attorneys went to consult them in the Eastern Cape. He said the state should help the families so they could travel to Rustenburg, as they wanted to be at the hearings and the inspection.
Judge Farlam said he had been informed the social development department was making provisions to bring them to Rustenburg.
Mr Ntsebeza said he needed more time to collect information from the police, including the names of the police officers on duty at the time of the shooting.
"Who were the officers who made the decision to use live ammunition ... to use razor wire?" Mr Bizos said he wanted that information as well, but it was no reason to postpone the matter.
"If any of us are not ready to cross-examine we can ask to stand down. Let us give evidence, no one will be prejudiced.... Opportunity will be given at a later stage."
Dali Mpofu, representing arrested and injured miners, supported Mr Ntsebeza’s application for a postponement. He told the hearing the wounded mineworkers would want financial assistance, made available by the government to the Marikana commission.
The commission adjourned for a tea break, after which the matter would be discussed further.
Thirty-four people were killed and 78 wounded in a shooting when police tried to disperse strikers at Lonmin on August 16. Another 10 people were killed in violent protests the preceding week, and two more have died subsequently.
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