Reports on Saturday said the department’s director general Nonkuleko Sindane already made the decision.
Non-profit organisation the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution said in a statement on Saturday this amounted to denying these families the right to particiapate in the judicial inquiry instituted by President Jacob Zuma, and undermined its credibility.
“This bizarre decision can only undermine the credibility and integrity of the commission whose primary focus ought to be on the victims of this national tragedy. It will make the continued participation of the families and their lawyers untenable. A commission of inquiry denuded of the presence of the families of the victims will be an empty vessel.”
Reports last week Wednesday said the department was worried about the cost it was incurring regarding the commission.
The bill stood at R75-million last week, which was expected to rise a lot because the department needed to pay for the travel and accommodation of the family members attending the commission.
Questions on the validity of the reports were referred by commission spokesperson Kevin Malunga to the justice department, which was not available to comment.
The council has since called for the postponement of the commission of inquiry.