Justice department wants Marikana funding rules changed
The justice department wants an amendment to the regulations which make it responsible for funding the attendance of dead miners' families at the Farlam commission, the inquiry hears.
On Saturday, the department said it would no longer fund the attendance of the families of the 34 miners killed in a police shooting at Marikana on August 16, at the commission's Rustenburg inquiry into the violence.
It said some of them had said they would prefer to have the travel money paid directly to them, as they were struggling as a result of the loss of their breadwinners.
However, evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga told the commission on Monday: "[The department said] it will fund the families who are willing to attend the proceedings. I don't think anyone was forced to attend."
Madlanga said the department was looking for a statutory amendment. "They are pushing to have this done today."
On Monday, the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, began dealing with issues relating to the funding of the families, Legal Aid assistance for the 78 miners wounded in the shooting and the 275 arrested, and the arrests of Lonmin mineworkers who attended the hearing last week.
The two front rows at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, which had been set aside for the families, were empty on Monday.
Madlanga said the Legal Aid board would have a teleconference on Monday to discuss financial help for the injured and arrested miners, being represented by advocate Dali Mpofu.
He also dealt with the four miners arrested last Tuesday.
"[The SA Police Service] is saying we are entitled to exercise our obligation or rights [to arrest suspects]," Madlanga said.
He said the police felt divulging the information in the arrest docket would disadvantage their case.
North West police said the four miners were arrested on October 23 in connection with killings around the Marikana hostel. They were on their way back from the inquiry at the time.
Madlanga asked that the arrest docket be made available to the commission and assured the police the information would be kept confidential.
"Mr Dali [Mpofu's] clients, and indeed his legal team... are of the view, position and belief that the arrests were used to thwart his clients [who were attending the commission].
"The commission can only test this perception if it is given sight of the docket," Madlanga said.