1 October 2012

South Africa: Marikana Inquiry to Be Fair, Fearless

Rustenburg — The Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana tragedy owed it to the people of South Africa to do its work as expeditious as possible without fear or favour, Commission Chairperson and retired judge Ian Farlam said.

"Our country weeps at this tragedy and we owe it to our country and those concerned that we do our work as expeditious as possible," Farlam said at the start of the inquiry in Rustenburg on Monday.

The commission, appointed to probe the death of 45 people including 34 striking miners in Marikana, began its work at the Rustenburg Civic Centre by reading the names of each of the deceased. A minute of silence prayer was observed. This was followed by the introduction of the evidence leaders and legal representatives appearing for different parties. Official hearings are expected to start on Wednesday.

Evidence leaders include advocates Mbuyiseli Madlanga and Charles Wesley. Veteran lawyer George Bizo will be appearing on behalf of what he called 'the constitution' of South Africa and was being instructed by the Legal Resource Centre.

Advocate Dali Mpofu appears for 270 miners who were arrested as well as those injured during the August 16 confrontation with the police while Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC represents the 20 families of the deceased. Appearing on behalf of the police and the Mineral Resources Department are Advocate I Semenya and Sipho Matebula respectively.

A site inspection in Marikana where the deaths occurred was scheduled to take place later in the day.

People would be allowed to point out places which they considered relevant to the inquiry. The descriptions of what happened at the site would also be recorded.

President Jacob Zuma, in August announced that the commission will have four months to complete its work.

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