Marikana inquiry postponed
A judicial commission of inquiry into the shooting at Lonmin platinum mine was postponed on Wednesday.
Lawyers representing the different parties unanimously decided to put off the matter to 9am on October 22.
Commission chair, retired judge Ian Farlam. said the lawyers had a "very fruitful" meeting where matters were discussed.
He said all parties agreed that the inquiry had to be expedited.
The commission is probing the shooting where 34 miners were killed and 78 wounded when police opened fire on them while trying to disperse protesters near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana on August 16.
The decision to have a postponement came after lawyers representing 20 families of miners killed and the 270 arrested workers argued that their clients were not present at the hearing at the Rustenburg Civic Centre.
Dumisa Ntsebeza, for 20 families, said: "This commission is about dead people. I would be very concerned if the relatives of those who died were absolutely absent."
On Monday, Farlam rejected an application by Ntsebeza to postpone the inquiry for two weeks so the families could come to Rustenburg.
Farlam told Ntsebeza the social development department was arranging to bring the families to the hearing.
Dali Mpofu, for the arrested and injured miners, supported Ntsebeza, saying the commission did not want to be accused of having a "half-baked and rushed product".
Just before the postponement was announced on Wednesday afternoon, Farlam said families of five of the mineworkers had arrived.
He asked for the five people's names to be read out.
They stood as their family member's name was read. Farlam expressed his condolences to the families.
"We would want to give you the assurance that we will do all to the best of our abilities to ascertain the facts which led to the deaths of those deceased," he told them.
One of the names read out was that of a police officer.
The commission was supposed to start hearing evidence on Wednesday.
Each party was going to be given the opportunity to give their version of the events on August 16.
However, the legal team for the police said they were not ready to give an account.
Early in the week the SA Police Service informed the commission that a ballistics report would only be ready in October.
Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson handed in post mortem reports of 31 of the dead miners.
Chaskalson said only three of the post mortem reports for the 10 people killed before the August 16 shooting were available. The other seven still needed to be located.