31 March 2014

South Africa: Marikana Commission - Phase Two, the Big Picture

Photo: Greg Marinovich/Daily Maverick
Striking miners (file photo).


The Marikana Commission of Inquiry, which has been running for almost 18 months, has so far focused on the week leading up to 16 August 2012, during which 44 people were killed, with many more injured and arrested.

On Monday, the public saw the first event relating to phase two of the investigation, which will look into the socio-economic conditions that led to the tragic week in mining. These are the issues which, if left unchecked, could cause continuing violent unrest.

Phase One of the Commission has seen evidence relating to the tragic week at Marikana presented and cross-examined by the various legal teams in retired judge Ian Farlam's inquiry. The events are specific and the questions direct and the Commission establishes who did what, when and why as 44 people were killed, around 70 injured and 270 arrested in the week before the massacre.

But Farlam is also tasked to look at the broader issues at hand. These matters don't always lend themselves to judicial methods, explained evidence leader Advocate Geoff Budlender on Monday as he was opening a seminar on bargaining arrangements in the platinum industry.

The Commission will host at least three seminars on...

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