Truth buried at the Marikana inquiryComment on this story
Cape Town - On April 30, Judge Ian Farlam said clause 1.5 of the Marikana commission of inquiry’s terms of reference had been deleted by President Jacob Zuma.
Clause 1.5 reads: “The role played by the Department of Mineral Resources or other government department or agency in relation to the incident and whether this was appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with their duties and obligations according to law.”
Marikana campaigners said there would now be no questioning of Police Minister Nathi Mthetwa, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, or any other government minister due before the commission.
Zuma said last week that the commission should complete its work by July 31.
A notice in the Government Gazette last week also said the commission would then have six weeks to hand over its report.
If this timeframe is followed, it would be two years after the killing of striking Lonmin mineworkers on August 16, 2012, that the report would be submitted.
The Marikana Support Campaign and Right 2 Know Campaign, which issued a joint statement this weekend, said this was not enough time to hear all the evidence to build a case for the mineworkers against the government and mining companies.
“A large proportion of the remaining three months will be taken up by Mr X who, under the witness protection programme, will give evidence on how his colleagues planned to attack the police (on August 16),” it said.
“Mr X has a statement that appears to be written by SAPS lawyers. He is being paid to give evidence and will be interviewed in camera. He will not have to face the families of the dead people he and the police are accusing.”
It added: “Whatever little time remains after Mr X has given evidence will be for Lonmin, the company that colluded with SAPS and with the government to ensure that an unprotected strike in the platinum sector was crushed.
“After 20 plodding months, legal teams at the commission will have to rush through the evidence of Lonmin’s senior executives in order to conclude on time.”
It also said rushing through the commission would forego a “serious examination of the role of the government or Lonmin, who worked closely with the police, in this massacre”.
“The Marikana commission of inquiry will not have the evidence it needs to make any meaningful recommendations. This leaves the 270 injured and arrested mineworkers accused of killing their own colleagues, in jeopardy.
“A commission established to uncover the truth about a massacre will be remembered as an expensive, worthless exercise that buried the truth, a whitewash and a low point in South African justice.”
Campaigners said the commission had found “4 000 rounds of ammunition and four mortuary vans were ordered in advance” of the killing. They want the commission to investigate Mthetwa, Shabangu, or “any other government minister due to come before the commission”.
The campaign has the backing of several international bodies, including Amnesty International South Africa, Advocates for Transformation, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies and Lawyers for Human Rights. - Sunday Argus