Marikana lawyer funding case continues

FILE PICTURE: Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark.

FILE PICTURE: Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark.

A court application for state-funding of the legal team representing wounded and arrested miners at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry continues in the High Court in Pretoria.

On Wednesday, Judge Tati Makgoka heard that the families of the miners who died in Marikana last year need to know the truth about what happened.

The inquiry is looking into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 people in Marikana last August. The police shot dead 34 mostly striking workers, wounded 70 and arrested 250 at Marikana on August 16, 2012. In the preceding week, ten people died, including two policemen and two security guards.

Dali Mpofu, for the wounded and arrested miners, has temporarily withdrawn from the inquiry because of a lack of funding, pending a review application to set aside the Minister of Justice and Legal Aid Board’s decision to refuse state funding to the miners.

Mpofu said the miners had been denied the right to a fair public hearing and that the decision was therefore unconstitutional. He said that without the miners’ input the commission’s only function would be to “whitewash the police”.

In July, the high court dismissed an urgent application by the miners for interim funding so they could be represented at the inquiry pending the outcome of their review application.

On August 19, the Constitutional Court refused them leave to appeal this ruling because the main issue had not yet been decided.

Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the deceased, submitted that the decision not to grant state-funded legal aid to the survivors was irrational and an affront to the rule of law.

Ntsebeza said President Jacob Zuma should have made provision for the indigent and poor miners to fully participate and to be legally represented when he established the commission.


Related articles:

Marikana inquiry a ‘sham’ without miners

Cop quizzed about Marikana plans

Concerns remain over SAPS marikana evidence

SAPS complains about Marikana evidence

Farlam Commission clarifies statement

today in print