Marikana widows have to 'prove' trauma as the authorities stay mum on compensation

Scarred: Families of the dead miners marked the fourth anniversary of the tragedy knowing they would soon be undergoing psychological evaluation. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy

Scarred: Families of the dead miners marked the fourth anniversary of the tragedy knowing they would soon be undergoing psychological evaluation. Photo: Delwyn Verasamy

NEWS ANALYSIS



The families and widows of Marikana massacre victims will now be forced to relive the trauma of four years ago in court because the presidency is dragging its heels on compensating them.

For the past two months, the presidency has apparently failed to communicate with the people representing the families of the deceased and the wounded and arrested miners.

The representatives are now going to court with a civil claim in a bid to compel the state to compensate the families. As part of this civil case, members of the affected families will have to undergo psychological tests to prove their claims of emotional shock and grief as a result of the August 2012 Marikana massacre.

The head of litigation at the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, Nomzamo Zondo, said the current process is unfair to the families and that the claim ought to have been at an advanced stage. “We gave the state an ultimatum to respond to us by June and all we got was that they would by the 24th. But there was nothing, and now they have forced us to go this assessment route,” she said.

As the widows and families of the dead miners commemorated August 16 in Marikana on Tuesday, they did so in the knowledge that they would soon have to be evaluated to prove how adversely the massacre had affected their lives.

Zondo explained that there was no other way, adding that the intrusive process could take several months to complete as there were 720 people waiting to be assessed.

“We managed to get 21 psychologists to conduct the assessments but that means each doctor has 16 people, so it will take a bit of time,” she said. In some cases, the experts would have to travel to the Eastern Cape to evaluate family members.

The presidency has not responded to questions about why there has been a hold-up in the compensation discussions — a process that was announced by President Jacob Zuma just under a year ago.

Meanwhile, the finalisation of the inquiry into suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold office has also hit a snag. The Mail & Guardian has seen a letter addressed to the legal parties involved in the case, stating that the presiding judge, Cornelis Claassen, has been booked off sick for six weeks.

This means that the writing of his report will be delayed until he has recuperated. Once completed, the report will be handed to Zuma and is expected to be made public some months later.

The Claassen inquiry was established after the release of Judge Ian Farlam’s Marikana report in June last year, to probe claims that Phiyega and her team had tried to conceal information from the commission, including when the tactical operation that led to the workers’ deaths was hatched.

Farlam recommended an investigation into Phiyega’s fitness to hold office. This also applied to the former North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo, who retired from the police two months before Farlam’s report was released to the public.

Should there be any further delays in releasing the Claassen report, Phiyega may also be off the hook, as her contract expires in June 2017.

Because Farlam’s report exonerated everyone else, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and former police minister Nathi Mthethwa, to date no one has been held accountable for the tragedy.

For now, it’s being left up to the widows and their families to prove that the death of their loved ones was sufficiently traumatic to warrant compensation. 


#NeverForget: Victims of the Marikana massacre

Andries Motlapula Ntshenyeho, Anele Mdizeni, Babalo Mtshazi, Bongani Mdze, Bongani Nqongophele, Bonginkosi Yona, Cebisile Yawa, Fezile David Saphendu, Hassan Duncan Fundi, Hendrick Tsietsi Monene, Isaiah Twala, Jackson Lehupa, Janeveke Raphael Liau, John Kutlwano ‘Papi’ Ledingoane, Julius Tokoti Mancotywa, Khanare Elias Monesa,Mafolisi Mabiya, Makhosandile Mkhonjwa, Matlhomola Mabelane, Mgcineni ‘Mambush’ Noki, Michael Ngweyi, Modisaotsile van Wyk Sagalala, Molefi Osiel Ntsoele, Mongezeleli Ntenetya, Mphangeli Thukuza, Mpumzeni Ngxande,  Mvuyisi Henry Pato, Mzukisi Sompeta, Nkosiyabo Xalabile, Nkumbulo Mvume, Nobhozi Bhabhazela, Ntandazo Nokamba, Patrick Akhona Jijase, Pumzile Sokanyile, Sello Lepaaku, Semi Jokanisi, Stelega Gadlela, Telang Vitalis Mohai, Thapelo Eric Mabebe, Thobile Mpumza, Thabiso Johannes Thelejane, Thabiso Mosebetsane, Thembinkosi Gwelani, Thembalakhe Sabelo Mati and Thobisile Zibambele 

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. Read more from Athandiwe Saba

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