29 October 2012

South Africa: Marikana Inquiry to Resume Today

Photo: Booysen Thamaga/SAPA
Striking Lonmin miners gather on a hill near the Marikana mine during a protest action in August 2012.

Pretoria — The Marikana Commission of Inquiry will reconvene at Rustenburg Civic Centre today at 9am.

This week the commission will sit on 29, 30 and 31 October. It will not sit on Thursday, 1 November; Friday, 2 November and Wednesday, 7 November. It will, however, sit on all other weekdays in November 2012.

"The days on which we are not sitting have been necessitated by pre-bookings of the Rustenburg Civic Centre, which took place before the Marikana tragedy happened.

"Irresponsible media reports have suggested that this reflects disorganisation on the part of the commission. This is inaccurate. The Rustenburg Civic Centre, which is owned by the Rustenburg Municipality, doubles up as a commercial entity which is booked for various events.

"We have received a commitment from the Rustenburg Municipality that there will be no new bookings to other entities during the commission's tenure," said the commission on statement.

During adjournments, the commission has been hard at work reviewing documents and various submissions. Legal teams have met to strategise and exchange documents while evidence leaders have finalised the week ahead.

"Reports that construe the periods of adjournment as a vacuum reflect a limited understanding of legal processes... This week's proceedings will continue with Theme 1 of the commission's mandate, that is, the events of 9 - 16 August 2012.

"Crime scene experts will continue their testimony regarding what they saw and did during that period. Post-mortem and ballistic reports will also be subject to cross-examination by the parties' legal representatives. Video footage which was shown last week will also be assessed," said the statement.

With regard to the issue concerning families of the victims, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has undertaken to provide explanations on the matter, the commission noted.

It added that as far as the arrests of Zamikhaya Ndude, Sithembele Sohadi, Loyiso Mtsheketshe, Anele Kole and Xolani Nzuza, it had requested an explanation of the circumstances of the arrests.

"The response from the SAPS is that the above-mentioned are accused of various crimes, including murder. It is the position of the commission that law enforcement must not be hindered during its tenure but that a delicate balance must be sought that does not undermine the work of the commission," said the statement.

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