/ 26 May 2015

Miners threaten legal action to release Marikana report

The Farlam commission has been postponed until next week to study information police have held back in the inquiry into 44 deaths at Marikana.
The Farlam commission has been postponed until next week to study information police have held back in the inquiry into 44 deaths at Marikana.

Lawyers for Amcu and the injured and arrested Marikana miners are consulting with their clients after President Jacob Zuma responded to their demands that he release the Marikana commission report.

The miners threatened to go to court if Zuma does not release the report this week.

The report, detailing the recommendations and findings of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, was handed to the presidency on March 31.

Since then, President Jacob Zuma has said he is considering and “processing” the report, but that it would be released “in due course”.

On Friday, the miners sent a letter to Zuma, demanding that he respond by 2pm on Sunday May 24, indicating whether he would release the report within 48 hours.

The miners also demanded that Zuma indicate what steps he would take to ensure that the North West police commissioner, Zukiswa Mbombo and others “fingered in the Marikana Commission [report] are not let off the hook”. Failing this, the miners said, their lawyers would go to court to seek an urgent order to force Zuma to release the report. 

Andries Nkome, representing the miners and Amcu in this case, said the presidency had responded to the letter this week, indicating he was considering their demands. On Tuesday, Nkome said he was consulting with his clients to decide on how they would now proceed. Court action has not been ruled out, he said.

In the letter sent to the presidency, Nkome said: “… it has come to the attention of our clients, via a newspaper report carried in this week’s papers and other media, that one of the persons they hold as directly responsible for their physical and emotional scars, Lieutenant-General Zukiswa Mbombo, is set to leave the employ of the state and the South African Police Services by 31 May 2015.

‘Escape the consequences’

“Our clients are of the firm view that her imminent departure is largely motivated, in whole or in part, by a deliberate desire to escape the obvious consequences of her criminal and/or otherwise unlawful conduct in connection with the Marikana massacre.”

On Monday, the presidency denied that the delay in releasing the report was linked to Mbombo’s reported departure. 

“The presidency rejects the false statements made by Marikana defence attorney, Andries Nkome, at the weekend in relation to the provincial and national police commissioners,” said presidency spokesperson Harold Maloka in a statement.

“Mr Nkome linked President Jacob Zuma to the reported retirement of the North West police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Zukiswa Mbombo. The president does not manage the careers of provincial police commissioners and as such has nothing to do with the reported retirement. Linking the president to this matter and insinuating that it could be linked to the processing of the Marikana report by the president is malicious and mischievous,” Maloka said.

On Tuesday, Nkome said he was surprised that the president had “launched a personal attack on me”.

“This is despite the fact that I represent people and it is the views of those people that I have conveyed,” Nkome said.

‘Do I know when I will finish?’ 

In Parliament last week Zuma said he could not give a date for the release of the report. “I cannot give a date, that is speculation. As soon as I finish reading the report, looking at the recommendations, I will release the report and indicate what is my attitude to recommendations … do I know when I will finish? I will be misleading Parliament. So I am saying I will finish the report and I will release the report, release also what I am doing with the recommendations,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Right2Know Campaign, the South African History Archive and the Marikana Support Campaign have submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act request to the presidency, asking that he release the report.