Presidency says government ready to compensate Marikana victims

The Farlam commission investigated the Marikana massacre but its report has been met with fury by those who believe it didn't state clearly who was responsible for the killings. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The Farlam commission investigated the Marikana massacre but its report has been met with fury by those who believe it didn't state clearly who was responsible for the killings. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

More than four years after the massacre, the Presidency announced on Sunday that government is ready to compensate families of the Marikana victims.

“The SAPS has instructed its attorneys to make offers of payments in full settlement of claims for the claims where quantification were complete and are not under criminal investigation,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

Zuma was giving an update on steps taken by various government departments to implement Farlam Commission of Inquiry recommendations.

The compensation process was initiated after the Marikana Massacre, in which police shot 112 striking Lonmin mine workers – killing 34 of them – on August 16 2012.

The police action was apparently in an attempt to disperse them and end their industrial action. Ten people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, had been killed in the preceding week.

On Sunday, Zuma said the quantified claims that could be carried forward included the majority of the loss of support claims in favour of those killed. “The 275 unlawful arrest and detention claims are quantified, complete and ready for settlement,” he said.

He said only one of the claimants had charges pending, and the outcome was still awaited.
There was still one action comprising personal injury claims in respect of 275 individuals and 81 separate actions relating to individual personal injury claims.

“The personal injury claims are still delayed by the fact that the plaintiff’s attorney is still considering to agree on one set of medical experts, which will be efficient both for the process and with regard to costs.”

With regards to healing, Zuma said that on August 12 2015, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo established the Marikana Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal Committee to promote healing, cohesion and lasting peace among affected communities.

After the mass shooting in 2012, Zuma established a commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, to look into the matter. It found that no senior government officials, including Lonmin non-executive board member Cyril Ramaphosa, were responsible for the shootings.

It however recommended a probe into suspended national police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold office. Thus the Claassen Board of Inquiry was established. Zuma suspended Phiyega in October last year.

The Claassen Board announced in November that it would hand its report to President Jacob Zuma at a date to be determined by him. The inquiry concluded its hearings on June 3.

Zuma further said that the Department of Mineral Resources plans to ask mining giant Lonmin for a compliant housing plan and may revoke the company’s mining rights if it doesn’t receive it.

He said a report carried out on June 25 2015 indicated that Lonmin had converted 776 hostels for families, and another 1 908 single apartments by December 2014, as was required by the Mining Charter.

“Prior to the Commission’s findings, Lonmin was directed to amend their Social and Labour Plan and the company submitted a revised plan during October 2014, in which they have addressed the housing needs by committing to build infill apartments, which… would replace the 5 500 houses committed to, as the majority of employees indicated that they are interested in rental accommodation,” Zuma said.

But, he said, the revised labour plan was broad and needed a clear timeline. – News24

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