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Fri Nov 28 14:10:45 SAST 2014

Marikana investigation to take four months

Sapa | 21 September, 2012 11:25
Mine workers gather while on strike near the scene of a shooting at Marikana, in the north western province.
Image by: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS

The investigation into the shootings at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, will be completed within four months, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe says.

"[President Jacob Zuma] has given very tight timeframes for this commission, namely of finalising its investigation within four months from the date of commencement of its work."

Radebe was briefing reporters in Pretoria on the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

In August, Zuma announced a three-member judicial commission of inquiry to probe the mine violence in which 44 people had died in Marikana. Two more people have died since then.

It would consider whether Lonmin responded appropriately to the threat of an outbreak of violence on its premises.

"These tragic incidents dominated our media space and also made news headlines internationally," said Radebe.

He said Zuma deemed it important that the commission investigate the incidents, which were of public, national, and international interest and make appropriate findings and recommendations.

"The return of the striking miners to work [on Thursday] is an important milestone in our collective endeavour to restore peace and harmony in the beleaguered community."

The commission has been mandated to determine the roles played by Lonmin, the police, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Also, the commission will determine the role played by the department of mineral resources or any other government department or agency, and the conduct of individuals and groupings in promoting a situation of conflict and confrontation which could have given rise to the shootings.

Radebe said Zuma would soon promulgate regulations which would confer powers on the commission to enable it to execute its task.

"The regulations are in its final stages. They are expected to be signed by the president today and released on Monday."

The regulations would also empower the commission to gather evidence by conferring on it powers such as being allowed to enter and search premises, secure the attendance of witnesses and compel the production of documents.

Public hearings would begin on October 1 and would be heard in Rustenburg.

The families of the Lonmin victims had been urged to attend the hearings.

Radebe said the commission had an additional task of bringing hope and comfort to the bereaved and other affected families.

"We will not shirk our responsibility in providing the best enabling environment for the commission to best fulfil its mandate.

"We owe the unfortunate victims of these tragic incident no less," he said.

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