9 January 2013

South Africa: Marikana Inquiry to Be Extended Until June

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has heard that the police should have handled the negotiations with striking mineworkers in a different way so as ... ( Resource: Police Handling of Marikana under spotlight

Johannesburg — The government-appointed Commission of Inquiry into the dozens of deaths at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, northern South Africa, will likely only present its final report in June, two officials said on Wednesday.

The commission, headed by Ian Farlam, a retired Supreme Court of Appeal judge, was meant to finish its work last month and present a final report by the end of January.

However, officials said the commission was intent on conducting more hearings and the next round of testimony would begin on January 21.

Dozens of people died in late 2012 after a wildcat strike at the Lonmin mine in North-West province turned violent, with clashes erupting between rival unions and later between strikers and police. The worst day of violence came on August 16, when police shot dead 34 miners.

Commission members "have asked for an extension. They say they can wrap up the hearings within three months. But we are giving them until May.

When they finish in May they will have one month to file the final report, which means by the end of June," Jacob Skosana, the head of policy at the Department of Justice, told dpa.

His comments were confirmed by another official close to the commission who requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak with the press.

Skosana said the paper work was being prepared to make a formal application to the government to have the mandate of the commission extended.

A spokesman for President Jacob Zuma said his office had yet to receive an formal demand for an extension but would review such a request.

The commission has a wide-reaching mandate to investigate all aspects of the violence, including rivalries between unions, police conduct, Lonmin management and the manner in which the government dealt with the crisis.

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InFocus

Police Come Under Fire at the Lonmin Inquiry

As the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the shootings at Marikana gets under way, questions have been raised about police planning before a shooting that left 34 striking miners ... Read more »