State agencies will not escape scrutiny

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zuma at wonderkop INLSA Five days after former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema accused President Jacob Zuma of not caring about the plight of the miners, Zuma yesterday returned to the area where 34 miners were shot dead at the Wonderkop informal settlement in Marikana, North West. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Pretoria -

The role of government agencies will not escape scrutiny in an inquiry into the Marikana mine shooting, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

“The commission will look into the role played by the department of mineral resources or any other government agency in relation to the incidents and whether this was appropriate in the circumstances, and consistent with their duties and obligations according to law,” he said in Pretoria.

“It 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, whether directly or indirectly.”

Zuma was speaking after announcing the three-member judicial commission of inquiry into last week's violence at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West. Thirty-four miners were killed and 78 wounded when police tried to disperse them.

Retired Supreme Court judge Ian Farlam will chair the commission. He will be joined by senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

The commission will have the power to enter and search premises, secure the attendance of witnesses, and compel the production of documents. Where appropriate, it will refer any matter for prosecution, further investigation, or the convening of a separate inquiry to the appropriate law enforcement agency, government department or regulator.

Earlier, Zuma said the commission's mandate would include investigating the conduct of mining company Lonmin Plc. It would consider whether Lonmin responded appropriately to the threat, and the subsequent outbreak of violence on its premises.

“It (the commission) will probe whether Lonmin Plc exercised its best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have arisen,” said Zuma.

It would investigate whether the company created an environment conducive to tension, labour unrest, or disunity.

The commission would examine the conduct of the SA Police Service, focusing on the facts and circumstances which gave rise to the use of force, and whether it was reasonable and justifiable.

It would scrutinise the conduct of the National Union of Mineworkers and its rival, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Farlam had worked as a judge in the Orange Free State division, and the Cape provincial division. The two other commissioners had both acted as judges.

The commission would complete its work within four months, and then had another month to submit its final report. - Sapa


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