Casac urges Legal Aid SA not to appeal Marikana ruling

The Council for the Advancement of the South Africa Constitution (Casac) welcomed the high court in Johannesburg's order that Legal Aid South Africa pay the legal costs of the survivors of the Marikana shooting.

"We urge Legal Aid SA to respect this judgment, adhere to it and not to appeal it," it said in a statement on Tuesday. "There is little to be gained from further legal wrangling over funding; indeed any appeal will only serve to further deepen the wounds of these injured workers."

Monday's high court judgment ordered Legal Aid SA to pay the legal costs of the Marikana massacre victims' representation at the Farlam commission of inquiry.

The application was brought by Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represents the miners who were wounded and arrested at Marikana.

The miners have not been represented at the commission recently because of a lack of funding.

The inquiry is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin platinum's operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West last year.

The police shot dead 34 people, mostly striking mineworkers, wounded 70, and arrested 250 on August 16 2012. In the preceding week, 10 people died, including two police officer and two security guards.

'Participate fully in the commission'
Casac said the "overriding concern" for it was for retired judge Ian Farlam to "expeditiously" identify those responsible for the loss of life.

"The interests of justice demand that all parties involved in the tragic massacre be afforded an opportunity to participate fully in the commission," it said. "It is only by hearing the testimony of all parties can judge Farlam make his findings with regards to what happened on 16 August last year."

The ruling was also welcomed by the Economic Freedom Fighters, the Inkatha Freedom Party and Agang SA on Monday.

The Bench Marks Foundation said the court ruling was a victory for the workers, their families and for democracy.

Meanwhile, the Farlam commission of inquiry's hearings into the circumstances surrounding the deaths in Marikana continues in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Returning to the commission
Lawyers for wounded and arrested mineworkers were expected to return to the commission hearings after a high court ruling that the state pay their legal fees.

The miners' legal team is led by Mpofu

On Monday the commission heard that senior police officers wanted four mortuary vehicles to be at the hill at Marikana hours before the shootings. – Sapa

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