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Thu Jul 24 21:25:27 SAST 2014

SA owes Marikana relatives the truth - and transport

The Times Editorial | 29 October, 2012 00:01

The Times Editorial: It would be a sad day indeed if the Marikana Commission of Inquiry continued without the presence of the shot miners' families. The decision by the Department of Justice to close its purse for their transport and accommodation costs is shocking and downright counter-productive.

President Jacob Zuma set up the commission to get to the root of what led to the massacre outside the Lonmin mine in Rustenburg.

Through its hearings, people will be in a better position to understand the events that led to the killing of 34 mine workers and two police officers.

The government is able to fund other projects at short notice so there is no justifiable reason to exclude those directly affected by the massacre.

Zuma should ask the Treasury to come on board.

We cannot add more pain to that being endured by the families. The price paid by those who died can never be quantified. Can you imagine former president Nelson Mandela saying that victims' families could not be accommodated when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission started?

Yesterday, Damela Thukuza, the brother of shot miner Mphangeli Thukuza, from Ngqeleni, Eastern Cape, said the Justice Department's decision to cancel meeting transport costs was a slap in the face for relatives of the victims.

"We were ignored. Only the lawyers representing our families pushed for our attendance there," Thukuza said.

"We stand by our belief that this commission was set up to enrich a few individuals rather than helping families get closure.

"Our brother died like a dog and it was for the government to make sure that we are part of the inquiry."

That is why Zuma should intervene and honour his vow that the commission will get to the truth and close the wounds left by the Marikana massacre.

If there is money to fund the Africa Cup of Nations, surely there is money to help South Africans find closure.

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Thu Jul 24 21:25:27 SAST 2014 ::