Lawyers’ distress at Farlam ruling

FILE PICTURE: Retired Judge Ian Farlam. Picture: Christine Vermooten.

Lawyers representing the miners wounded and arrested during labour-related unrest at Marikana are disappointed at the decision not to postpone the public hearings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

The miners would view the decision as unfair, said their attorney Andries Nkome. Commission chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, ruled on Monday that it would not be prejudicial to the miners wounded and arrested at Marikana last year to continue the hearings.

The application to defer the hearings was brought by Dali Mpofu, who also represents the arrested and wounded miners. Mpofu and other lawyers have provisionally withdrawn from the commission while he continues to seek funding.

“Our clients understand that every day this commission continues half a million rand of their money is being spent to run the commission. It is not fair,” Nkome told reporters outside the auditorium in Centurion where the commission is sitting.

“The so-called victims of the [Marikana] massacre are not participating in the commission. Our clients were not here today, I think they had anticipated the ruling would be against them,” he said.

Nkome said he anticipated that his clients would not receive the commission’s decision well. “Our clients see this commission to be running only with the parties which seem to be the perpetrators of the injustices. Obviously, they would not be feeling well,” he said.

The commission’s evidence leaders have been representing his clients. On Friday, Mpofu took a swipe at the evidence leaders, claiming they were on the justice department’s pay-roll.

However, the evidence leaders’ head, Geoff Budlender, rejected Mpofu’s claim.

The commission, which is sitting at the Tshwane council chamber, is investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s Marikana operations near Rustenburg, in North West.

Police shot dead 34 people almost all striking mineworkers while trying to disperse them on August 16, 2012. Ten other people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

The commission was appointed by President Jacob Zuma shortly after the unrest.


today in print

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