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Zuma appoints Marikana commission

24 August 2012

President Jacob Zuma has announced the composition and terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry into the Marikana tragedy, calling for cooperation from all parties involved so that the country can come to a full understanding of the causes behind the tragedy.

Thirty-four people were killed in clashes with the police at the mining town of Marikana near Rustenburg last Thursday. Prior to this, 10 other people - including two police officers - were killed in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions.

A number of memorial services took place around the country on Thursday as South Africa mourned those who lost their lives and came together to show support for the families of the deceased.

Addressing journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, Zuma said the commission of inquiry would be headed by Judge Ian Farlam, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal, and include advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

In investigating the events leading up to the tragedy, the commission has been tasked with looking into the conduct of mining company Lonmin, the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

Regarding Lonmin, the commission will investigate, in particular, whether the company:

  • Exercised it best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have risen between itself and the labour force on one hand, and generally among its labour force on the other.
  • Responded appropriately to the threat and outbreak of violence which occurred at its premises.
  • 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.
  • Employed sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees, property and the prevention of the outbreak of violence between any parties.

The commission will also examine Lonmin's policies generally, including its procedure, practices and conduct relating to its employees and organised labour.

"It will also investigate whether by act or omission, the company directly or indirectly caused the loss of life or damaged to persons or property," Zuma said.

Regarding the SAPS, the Commission will look at:

  • The nature, extent and application of any standing orders, policy considerations, legislation or other considerations in dealing with the situation that gave rise to the incidents.
  • The fact and circumstances that gave rise to the use of force and whether this was reasonable and justifiable in the circumstances.
  • The role played by SAPS through its respective units, individually and collectively in dealing with the incident.
  • Whether by act or omission, it directly or indirectly caused the loss of life or harm to persons or property.

Regarding the NUM and AMCU, the Commission will look at:

  • Whether the unions had exercised its best endeavours to resolve any disputes which may have arisen between itself and Lonmin or the other union or other parties.
  • The extent to which the unions exercised effective control over its membership and those allied to it, in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives and property of other persons.
  • Whether by act or omission, it directly or indirectly caused the loss of life or harm to persons or property.

Zuma said the commission would also look into the role played by the Department of Mineral Resources, any other government department or agencies in relation to the incidents, and whether this was appropriate in the circumstances and consistent with their duties and obligations according to the law.

"The Commission will also look into the conduct of individuals and loose groupings in fermenting and/or otherwise promoting a situation of conflict and confrontation which may have given rise to the tragic incident, whether directly or indirectly," the President said.

The commission will submit interim reports and recommendations to Zuma each month before the final report is presented.

The commission's work will be completed in four months, and within a month thereafter it will submit its final report to the President.

"The commission shall, where appropriate, refer any matter for prosecution, further investigation or the convening of a separate inquiry to the appropriate law enforcement agency, government department or regulator regarding the conduct of a certain person or persons," Zuma said.

It will also have the necessary powers, including the power to enter and search premises, secure the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of documents.

"We urge all affected parties to work with the commission so that the truth can be uncovered about what really happed in Marikana," Zuma said.

Source: SANews.gov.za

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South African President Jacob Zuma (Photo: GCIS)

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