Police Minister Nathi Nhleko accompanied by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi giving an update on the Nkandla Project during the media briefing at Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town, 28/05/2015. Ntswe Mokoena
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko accompanied by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi giving an update on the Nkandla Project during the media briefing at Imbizo Media Centre in Cape Town, 28/05/2015. Ntswe Mokoena

Nhleko welcomes Marikana court action

By Nomaswazi Nkosi Time of article published Aug 14, 2015

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Johannesburg - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has welcomed court action against him by the families of the 34 miners killed in Marikana three years ago.

Nhleko said he believed the court action was one of the things needed to bring closure, although he had not yet seen the court papers.

“We need further engagements to bring about closure to the hurt, humiliation and sorrow of our people over this matter. We have certainly learnt many lessons out of this tragedy,” Nhleko said on the eve of the third anniversary of the tragedy.

The families instituted a civil case against Nhleko and are represented by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, the Legal Resources Centre and the Wits Law Clinic.

They are seeking compensation for the loss of financial support of the deceased’s families, grief and emotional shock caused by the deaths, the medical expenses for psychological and psychiatric treatment, as well as loss of family life and parental care, they said.

Additionally, 260 people who were injured and arrested during the massacre have also lodged a civil case against Nhleko. These are represented by Andries Nkome, who said they would, at a later stage, explore a criminal case for being kept in detention unlawfully and having to appear in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court back in 2012 for crimes they didn’t commit.

Nkome said the civil case, if won, could see the 260 applicants being granted an average of R3 million each.

The Marikana Support Campaign, meanwhile, has asked for an apology from Nhleko to the families of the deceased miners and those who were injured and arrested.

“Given the fact that victims have been waiting for almost three years for some form of restorative justice to be served, we support their demands that these claims on the state be settled immediately,” spokesman Rehad Desai said.

He added it would be unjust for the victims who still face poverty to wait any longer for the case to be settled.

Nkome said a court date had not been reached yet because Nhleko had 15 days to respond.

“I cannot say how long this will go on. It depends on the state. The longer it drags out, the more it costs,” Nkome said.

In the court papers, the families stated the police commanders should, in the circumstances, have exercised reasonable care in the planning, briefing, implementation, command and control of the police operation to minimise the risk of violence, injury and deaths.

“The conduct of the commanders was wrongful and negligent. Were it not for the commanders’ wrongful and negligent conduct, the second incident would not have occurred and the deceased would not have been killed,” the court papers state.

The second incident described in the court papers refers to the death of the miners on August 16, 2012. The first incident refers to the August 13 deaths of 10 people during the violent wage strike at the Lonmin mine.

Meanwhile, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo has established a Marikana reconciliation, healing and renewal committee.

“It is the view of the premier that the wounds and conflict of the past can best be resolved when we collectively engage in dialogue and draw lessons from the past,” his office said.

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