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Johannesburg - Survivors and families of the victims of the Marikana massacre will march to the Union Buildings next week because of the government’s refusal to pay their legal fees at the Farlam Commission.
The march is scheduled for September 12 - the day on which Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko was killed by the apartheid regime exactly 36 years ago.
South African Council of Churches president Jo Seoka, who testified at the commission, is the convener of the march.
“I was so touched by the (Marikana massacre) commemoration service when the workers passed around buckets to make a collection towards the funding of their legal team. This indicated their (quest) for justice and fairness,” Seoka said during a media briefing in Joburg on Thursday.
He was flanked by some of the survivors of the massacre and representatives from various newly formed solidarity groups, including the Marikana Support Campaign and Citizens for Marikana.
It was also revealed that more than R17 000 was raised during the commemoration day event.
“Although this (amount) is not enough, it symbolises the desperation of the workers and the community of Marikana for the truth.
“(Justice Minister) Jeff Radebe revealed last week that the government has put aside R115 million for the Marikana commission, but it is not prepared to spend even one cent for the victims, who are poor citizens,” Seoka added.
On Thursday, organisers appealed to South Africans to show their support to the victims and their families by joining the march and donating cash towards their legal fees.
A trust fund account, called the Marikana Dignity Trust, has been registered. Details will be released at the weekend.
Seoka said the long-term objectives of the trust fund “go beyond the commission into the restoration of the dignity of the victims, their families and their communities”.
This, he said, included the general welfare and education of the survivors’ widows and children.
Seoka emphasised, however, that the setting up of the trust fund was not intended to absolve the government of its responsibility to fund the survivors’ and families’ legal fees.
One of the surviving mineworkers, Mzoxolo Magidiwana, told of workers’ frustration and pain at the government’s refusal to fund their legal fees. He is still walking with crutches.
“Our government has a case (to answer). If it is that it’s us who were wrong, let the truth come out.
“They don’t want to assist because they want to hide the truth,” Magidiwana said.
He added: “I don’t know why the government is trying to hide this, because a person’s blood cannot be hidden.
“Why is it that they are not willing to help us but are helping the police? If Mandela was still the president, all of this wouldn’t have happened.”