NGO welcomes Radebe decision to fund costs for Marikana families
An NGO has welcomed Justice Minister Jeff Radebe's call on the Farlam Commission to fund slain Marikana mineworkers' relatives' costs to attend the Farlam Commission of Inquiry hearings in Rustenburg.
The justice department had caused the families distress with a statement on Saturday that it would pull their funding to attend the hearings, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution's chairman, Sipho Pityana, said in a statement on Monday.
"We call on the department of justice to act with urgency to make the necessary arrangements for the families to attend the hearings," he said.
"The interests of justice demand that the families are put at the forefront of the commission of inquiry."
On Monday, the department announced that Radebe planned to ask President Jacob Zuma to change the rules of the commission to require it to fund miners' families attendance of its sessions.
"The department has liaised with the commission this morning [Monday] to convey its intention to submit the proposed amendment to the president before the end of business... today [Monday]," justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said in a statement.
"Mr Jeff Radebe regrets any confusion and misconception that may have been created by the decision taken by the department this past Saturday."
On Saturday, the department said it would no longer fund the attendance, at the commission's hearings in Rustenburg, of the families of some of the 34 miners killed in a police shooting at Marikana on August 16.
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.
Mhaga said on Monday that the interests of the families were being safeguarded by "seasoned legal representatives" at the commission.
"Government has the interests of the families of victims at heart, hence we are working tirelessly to salvage the situation."
On Monday, the commission, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, began dealing with 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.
Dumisa Ntsebeza, who represents the families at the commission, said they were entitled to attend. He called for the hearings to be halted until the families could be there.
"We are not able at this stage, to ascertain the veracity of the undertakings made... [to fund the families' attendance]," he told the commission.