File Image: IOL
Tshepiso Ramphele, the attorney who represented the Twala and Langa families at the Farlam Commission, has not been paid for work done over nine months.

He estimates the bill to be about R800 000.

Ramphele says, initially, the scope of the work of the commission was confined to incidents that took place on the day of the Marikana Massacre. But he made representations to then President Jacob Zuma, who extended the terms of reference of the commission to include events leading up to August 16, 2012.

“At the commission, I at first stood for four families, including Mabebe and Mabelane.

“The Twalas were not part of my mandate at the time. Fundi was later represented by NUM.”

Thapelo Eric Mabebe and mine security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Matlhomola Mabelane were killed, allegedly by their striking co-workers.

Ramphele says after the positive response from Zuma, he went into an agreement with the Legal Aid Board, which was to cover his costs. 

“To date, I have not been paid a cent,” Ramphele said.

After the commission folded, the rest of the 10 families approached him for legal assistance, Ramphele says. “But I told them I could no longer help them as I was unable to help myself. I had not been paid.”

Ramphele runs a one-man outfit and the time he spent away from the office cost him dearly.

In an attempt to receive payment for the work done, he started a lengthy correspondence with the Office of the President, who referred him to the Minister of Justice, “and it was Michael Masutha then”.

He had not heard a word from Masutha to when he left office.

Ramphele says he feels for the families of the 10 “as they are the most vulnerable, not that the families of the 34 deserve less, but these can certainly do with the support”.

His heart goes out to Twala’s and Langa’s sons who work with people who killed their fathers.

Wendy Tlou, group head of communications at Sibanye-Stilwater, says: “We are aware of the 10 colleagues who lost their lives prior to August 16, and that is why we have always referred to the 44 colleagues that lost their lives during that week in 2012.

“Following the tragedy, one of the measures taken by the company was to offer one family member of the deceased a job at the mine to ensure that there was ongoing support for the families.

“We are not aware of any safety arrangements made by the authorities for any of the employees who have taken up the job opportunities as mentioned above, nor about the two gentlemen being ostracised by Amcu. We will follow up on these claims and see where we can assist.” 

Sunday Independent