Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

State’s merry-go-round on Marikana compensation

In September last year President Jacob Zuma announced that instead of going to court, government was considering initiating an alternative dispute resolution to speed up the compensation process. But the process has been slow, at best.

Andries Nkome, one of the lawyers representing the wounded and arrested miners, says that state attorney Ben Minnaar approached them last month, but failed to include advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, acting for the widows and families of the deceased miners, in what Nkome called an attempt to “divide and conquer”.

“The state attorney came to see us last month as the lawyers for the injured and arrested. We told them that this was contrary to our agreement that they must deal with all the claims at the same time.

“Unfortunately the state only called us, and in our view they are trying to divide and conquer,” he said.

In 2012 police shot and killed 34 miners in Marikana, leaving hundreds of dependents without breadwinners.

In February this year the Mail & Guardian reported that government had handed over a proposal at a meeting attended by all the parties, including senior advocates Jeremy Gauntlett for the presidency, as well as Ntsebeza and Mpofu.

The proposal, which had been a closely guarded secret, had set out four possible responses to the civil claims filed in the Pretoria high court last year. This included how the state could accept liability in respect of legitimate claims, raising questions as to what would be seen as legitimate.

There was also disagreement over the logistics of the adjudication process, with the state proposing that the justice minister appoint an adjudicator from the ranks of retired judges to carry out the process to determine liability and fair compensation.

The representatives of the affected parties were not happy with this and set out their own proposal, which stipulated that the state must accept 100% liability for the injuries and death of the miners.

“We as the representatives proposed that the state accept liability for our clients’ injuries and unlawful arrests. The only thing remaining is to quantify how much each person must claim for. But it has been a merry-go-round of discussions and we haven’t received anything out of it. We don’t have a date of when we will meet again and this is very uncomfortable for our clients, because we can’t advise them as there is nothing on the table as yet,” said Nkome.

Meanwhile, Keamogetswe Thobakgale from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa – which represents the widows of the deceased miners – said that the last meeting they had with government was in February. “The engagement with the state is still ongoing. They have not yet made an offer.”

The presidency and the state attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Athandiwe Saba
Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Young and jobless? Apply for one of 287 000 education...

Education department urges young, jobless people to apply for teaching assistant vacancies

Officials implicated in arts council mismanagement will be brought to...

The National Arts Council vows that every cent from the sector’s Covid-19-relief programme will be disbursed to artists, after auditors uncover maladministration

Covid-19 vaccine mandates: a constitutional balancing act

South Africa’s laws allow the government to implement mandatory Covid vaccinations but, if it chooses this path, it must do so responsibly

Popularity will not guarantee mayoral selection — Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a more rigorous mayoral selection process, which will involve the party’s top six
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×