JOHANNESBURG May 14 Sapa
DON'T RUSH MARIKANA PROBE: COMMISSION
Oral evidence before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the 2012 Marikana shooting should not be rushed, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Thursday.
Spokesman Isaac Mangena said to complete the witness's evidence in one day undermined the inquiry's credibility.
The commission was granted an hour, when it applied for two-and-half hours, to cross-examine the commander of the tactical response team during the Marikana shooting, Captain Paul Bismarck Loest.
Mangena said an hour was not enough to get enough information from the witness.
"Loest is a vital witness given that he was the commander of the tactical response team line which is alleged to have killed 17
people," he said.
"There are a number of vital matters on which Loest will not be cross-examined and his evidence will not be tested."
Loest was expected to testify either on Wednesday or Thursday.
The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 44 people at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, during strike-related unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine 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.
Mangena said the commission had lodged a formal complaint contending that the Marikana inquiry was being rushed. He expressed concern over the removal of paragraph 1.5 from the inquiry’s terms of reference.
The deleted clause directed the commission to investigate the role of the mineral resources department, or any other government department or agency, in the Marikana violence.
"The president’s decision to remove government responsibility from the scope of the commission’s investigation in phase two is a retrograde step."
The SAHRC had asked the presidency to reconsider its amendment to the terms of reference.
Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, reportedly dismissed concerns about the removal of the clause.
"The removal of paragraph 1.5 of the terms of reference does not in any way affect phase one of the commission's inquiry," he has been quoted as saying.