‘No legal basis to fund Marikana commission attendance’

The justice department confirmed late on Saturday the families of the victims will no longer receive money to attend commission hearings, adding there was no legal requirement for them to provide the families with financial assistance to oversee the hearings as they were not witnesses in the case.

“In as much as we are sympathetic to the families and understand their desire to attend the proceedings, we cannot finance their attendance as that is not covered by any legislative framework that governs the work of the commission,” spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said a statement.

“Regulations applicable to the commission make provision for legal assistance to be afforded to any such witness whose evidence may be relevant to the terms of reference of the commission, and families will be entitled to same assistance if they participate as witnesses,” the statement said.

Mhaga said the families were given funds to attend the first session of the inquiry was “mainly based on humanitarian basis” so that they would understand the need for the inquiry.

“The department took a decision to afford financial assistance for family members to attend the first session of the inquiry, and this was with a view to afford them to be present when the commission commences with the inquiry, which was planned to be preceded by a statement of sympathy to the families Further attendance of the inquiry would be left to the choice of the families themselves … There is no legal basis on which the attendance of the family members or representatives can be sustained on state expense.”

Non-profit organisation the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution called for the department to reverse its decision, or postpone the commission of inquiry into the incident that left 44 people dead.

Mhaga said to the Mail & Guardian on Saturday: “It has never happened in the history of South Africa that the department has paid for family members to watch hearing proceedings. So why are we being vilified for doing this?”

The department also said some of families requested they be given the money that would be used to fly them from the Eastern Cape to Rustenburg rather be given to them for food to feed their families.

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Western Cape Judge Mushtak Parker faces second misconduct complaint

The Cape Bar Council says his conduct is ‘unbecoming the holding of judicial office’

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories