Ammendments ‘will diminish’ Marika report

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iol news pic Judge Ian Farlam INLSA File image - Honourable Judge Ian Gordon Farlam during the public hearing of the Marikana Commission of Enquiry to investigate the Marikana tragedy at which 44 people were killed and scores injured. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Amendments to the terms of reference of the Farlam Commission will diminish the commission's final report, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) said on Monday.

“Aside from the SA Police Service, no other state institution will be investigated by the commission,” Casac spokesman Lawson Naidoo said in a statement.

“We will therefore not have a full picture of the circumstances that led to this shameful massacre.”

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) said in a statement on Saturday this aspect of the amendment would not affect the first phase of the commission's work, dealing with the injuries and deaths at Marikana and responsibility for these, in any way.

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, during strike-related unrest in August 2012.

On August 16, police shot dead 34 people, mostly protesting miners. At least 78 miners were wounded when police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine while trying to disarm and disperse them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

On May 5, changes to the commission's terms of reference were published in the government gazette.

The changes extended the commission's work until July 31, with its report to be handed in six weeks later, and deleted a clause relating to the scope of the inquiry.

The deleted clause directed the commission to investigate the role of the mineral resources department or any other government department or agency in relation to the Marikana violence.

It included whether actions by these bodies were appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with their duties and obligations in law.

Naidoo said: “Whilst we welcome the announcement of a final deadline for Judge (Ian) Farlam's report, given the drawn-out process of the commission's work thus far, we must be sceptical about the seeming haste in ending the life of the commission”.

The initial terms of reference would have included Lonmin, the police, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the National Union of Mineworkers as well as government departments in the commission's mandate.

Casac said the change to the terms of reference would also undermine the commission's series of public seminars envisaged under second phase of its work, looking at the broader socio-economic and labour market issues in the mining sector.

The organisation believed that the labour department's role would have necessarily formed part of this phase of the inquiry.

Seri last week also noted its concern about the changes to the commission's terms of reference.

“The deletion of this clause has created the impression that the commission does not intend to require any of the relevant cabinet ministers to testify before it in relation to the role they played in the events leading up to the 16 August 2012 massacre at Marikana,” it said in a statement.

Seri said the commission had already received statements from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a Lonmin board member at the time, about their role in relation to the police's conduct.

“As matters currently stand, it is anticipated that they will be called to give oral evidence,” Seri said.

Sapa



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