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So. Africa: Advocates for striking miners massacred at Marikana in 2012 make final statements to commission of inquiry

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25 May 2015

So. Africa: Miners, trade union to seek court order compelling release of Farlam report into Marikana massacre

Author: Adam Wakefield, News24

'Marikana miners go to court to compel Zuma to release report', 25 May 2015: The workers injured and arrested in the Marikana shooting, their families, and labour union Amcu, are to approach the courts to force President Jacob Zuma to release the Marikana report. Andries Mkome, the lawyer representing all parties, said they would approach the courts…"on an urgent basis…The time for dialogue has passed…we now have no other option but to approach the court," Mkome said…Thirty-four people were killed near Lonmin's [Marikana] platinum mine…when police tried to disperse striking miners on August 16, 2012. More than 78 people were injured…In November last year after sitting for 300 days, the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, concluded its work. The commission's report was handed to Zuma at the end of March…[T]he presidency said Zuma was still processing the commission’s report and will release it publicly…[after] careful consideration.

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1 April 2015

Marikana Commission submits report on mine killings to So. African president

Author: Setumo Stone, Business Day (So. Africa)

'Marikana report handed to Zuma', 1 Apr 2015: Close to three years after the Marikana massacre, the report by the commission of inquiry into the event has been completed and handed to President Jacob Zuma. An illegal strike at Lonmin that turned violent, resulting in the deaths of 44 people in a week, including 34 workers shot by police, was a turning point in labour relations in SA. The workers…[were] demand[ing]…a basic salary of R12,500 [1055 USD] at mines in the area…Civil society groups…[have] urged...[President] Zuma to release the report as soon as possible…The report is expected to clarify the roles of all the parties involved in the massacre and who should be held accountable for the killings… 

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11 November 2014

Lawyer: Marikana strikers posed no threat to police

Author: SAPA (South African Press Association)

Strikers never posed a threat to the police tactical response team (TRT) on 16 August, when 34 miners were killed at Marikana in 2012, the Farlam Commission of Inquiry heard in Pretoria on Tuesday. "The killings were a result of police using completely disproportionate force on 16 August," said Dumisa Ntsebeza, for the families of the miners killed in the 2012 strike...A separate matter that Ntsebeza could not accept was how injured miners were treated after the shooting had stopped, as he asserted police did little, if anything, to help those they had wounded..."What we see there is this callousness, this absolute disregard for people who have been injured...That [Marikana] was not a war zone, but even in a war zone the Geneva Convention makes provisions for the treatment of those who get injured."

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11 November 2014

Marikana: Lonmin 'weighed up' cost of strike to lives of employees

Author: SAPA (South African Press Association)

The Farlam commission of inquiry, investigating the deaths of 44 people in Marikana, resumed in Pretoria on Monday. The commission heard arguments from several quarters, including legal representatives for Lonmin and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). On Tuesday, Heidi Barnes, for Amcu, put it to the commission that the union's leadership acted responsibly and constructively in trying to avert violence and have strikers disarm, in the days leading up to the August 2012 shootings at Marikana.  Tshepiso Ramphele, representing two Lonmin security officers and one of the non-striking miners killed – allegedly by strikers --...submitted that in sending their employees to deal with around 3 000 striking miners, Lonmin had weighed up the cost of the 2012 platinum strike against the lives of their employees."If one looks at the damages one has to pay...because we [Lonmin] are going to lose R2-billion, we have a very reasonable consideration that says we can forgo R200 000 and we can forgo a number of R200 000s otherwise we lose R2-billion." According to Ramphele, the R200 000 represented the compensation Lonmin would pay to employees and their families incapacitated or killed on the job...On Monday, Schalk Burger, for Lonmin, said the mine could not criticise Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for his role in events during the unprotected strike.  "He did what any responsible businessman would've done," Burger told the commission.  Ramaphosa was a non-executive director and shareholder in Lonmin at the time of the strike.

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10 November 2014

No justification for Marikana strikers’ death – Ntsebeza

Author: Athandiwe Saba, City Press

Families of 36 miners who died in August 2012 will present their final arguments before the Marikana Commission tomorrow. Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza will argue that there was no justification for the death of the strikers. "The families will argue that Scene 1 was an attempt by the [South African Police Service] to encircle the strikers: in essence, a trap..." "Evidence presented before the commission showed that the SAPS channelled the strikers to the line set up by heavily-armed tactical response team members, and that the strikers never actually attacked the line, as argued by the SAPS," read a Socio-Economic Rights Institute statement. Ntsebeza is expected to recommend to the commission further investigation and prosecution of [a range of local police commanders and national police officials including]...Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa...

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7 November 2014

Charge police and Lonmin for Marikana deaths, inquiry told

Author: Franny Rabkin, Business Day (So. Africa)

THE police and Lon­min should be held crim­i­nally liable for the deaths of 34 peo­ple at Lonmin's Marikana mine in 2012, the Far­lam com­mis­sion heard yes­ter­day.  While the police have so far received the lion's share of blame...the Legal Resources Cen­tre said yes­ter­day that if the police were to be held crim­i­nally liable, Lon­min could not be excused...In the morn­ing ses­sion, the South African Human Rights Commission argued that the police had fore­seen the pos­si­bil­ity that lives would be lost if it was to "go tacti­cal" and move to dis­arm and dis­perse the strik­ers...said the rights commission's coun­sel, Michelle le Roux...The risk of mul­ti­ple deaths was "both fore­see­able and fore­seen", Ms le Roux said.  Legal Resources Cen­tre coun­sel Tem­beka Ngcukaitobi said by the same rea­son­ing, Lon­min was also liable... The com­pany had a legal duty to pro­tect its work­ers and had failed to do so. It had twice been told by the police that if the police were to do what the com­pany was sug­gest­ing, blood would be shed.
Mr Ngcukaitobi said Lon­min had been part of the deci­sion to pro­ceed with the oper­a­tion and was so "embed­ded" in it that the inquiry ought to rec­om­mend that charges of mur­der should be brought against it.

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3 November 2014

Marikana Commission of Inquiry

Author: Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa

SERI represents before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry 36 families of striking miners who were killed by the police in August 2012. SERI also represents the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at the Marikana Commission...In October 2014 the legal teams filed their heads of argument/written submissions. In November replying submissions and heads of argument were filed. See below:

  • Evidence Leaders: Heads of argument (27 October 2014) here.
  • Families of 36 of the Deceased: Heads of argument (29 October 2014) here. Replying heads of argument (3 November 2014) here.
  • Injured and Arrested Persons: Heads of argument (27 October 2014) here.
  • Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU): Heads of argument (28 October 2014) here.
  • South African Police Service (SAPS): Heads of argument (27 October 2014) here. Replying submissions (3 November 2014) here.
  • Lonmin Plc: Heads of argument (27 October 2014) here. Replying submissions (3 November 2014) here.
  • South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC): Written submissions (27 October 2014) here (Phase 1) and here (Phase 2). Replying submissions (3 November 2014) here.
  • Bench Marks Foundation and Ledingoane Family: Heads of argument (29 October 2014) here...
  • Monene Family: Heads of argument (27 October 2014) here.
  • Lepaaku and Baloyi Families: Written submissions (27 October 2014) here.
  • National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Mrs Fundi: Heads of argument (27 October 2014) here. Replying submissions (3 November 2014) here.
  • Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Minister S Shabangu: Replying submissions (3 November 2014) here.
  • Former Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa: Written submissions (26 October 2014) here.
  • Cyril Ramaphosa: Replying submissions (4 November 2014) here.

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1 November 2014

Miners Shot Down - documentary on massacre of Marikana workers, So. Africa

Author: directed by Rehad Desai

[website for documentary film, released July 2014]

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence and the country's first post-apartheid massacre.

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1 November 2012

Marikana: Farlam Commission of Inquiry

Author: Lonmin

Lonmin welcomes the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana tragedy...and we will co-operate fully...Amongst others, the Commission will look into the conduct of Lonmin, the SAPS and the NUM and AMCU.  In the case of Lonmin specifically it will look into the following:

  • whether it exercised its best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have arisen between Lonmin and its labour force on the one hand and generally among its labour force on the other;
  • whether it responded appropriately to the threat and outbreak of violence which occurred at its premises;
  • whether the company, by act or omission, created an environment which was conducive to the creation of tension, labour unrest, disunity among its employees or other harmful conduct;
  • whether it employed sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees and property and the prevention of the outbreak of violence between any parties...

... Opening statement for Lonmin

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