The dead and the forgotten

Family members of six men killed in violence leading up to the Marikana massacre are requesting that they also be considered for compensation. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

Family members of six men killed in violence leading up to the Marikana massacre are requesting that they also be considered for compensation. (Oupa Nkosi/M&G)

The families of victims who were murdered in the run-up to the Marikana massacre have been excluded from compensation discussions and are pleading with President Cyril Ramaphosa for fair treatment.

Security officers Frans Mabelane and Hassan Fundi were killed on August 12 2012.

Eric Mabebe, also a Lonmin employee, was found with serious injuries at the K4 shaft. He later died in hospital.

Julius Langa, Isaiah Twala and Dumisani Mthinthi were stabbed and hacked to death, allegedly by striking miners.

The six have not been included in the compensation discussions and negotiations being finalised for the other massacre victims.

This has prompted their lawyer, who also represented them at the Farlam commission of inquiry into the massacre three years ago, to write a letter to Ramaphosa asking for clarity about why they have been omitted.

READ MORE: A little light shines for Marikana

The letter, which the Mail & Guardian has seen, states that the families did not receive Legal Aid assistance during the commission, nor have they been included in the compensation discussions, as though only those who belong to unions can get a seat at the table.

“Though we are the legal team that persuaded the office of the president to extend the terms of reference of the commission to include these deaths, for reasons unknown to us, the Legal Aid Board refused to make payment for representing them,” reads the letter.

About the families who lost loved ones prior to the August 16 massacre, the letter read: “The losses our clients suffered are immeasurable … We therefore believe that our clients deserve to be paid damages in the sum of R6-million for each of the families.”

It is also argued that the families, to support themselves without the breadwinners, have had to work at Lonmin alongside the men who allegedly butchered their loved ones. After the strike and massacre, Lonmin offered employment to some of the families of those who were killed.

The lawyer said the six had been labelled impimpi and now have simply not been considered for compensation.

“We request your [Ramaphosa’s] intervention, both in relation to the negotiations we wish to engage with the office of the state attorney and Lonmin.”

In a responding letter, dated April  9, the presidency stated it would refer the matter to the department of justice and correctional services to consider it and advise the president accordingly. 

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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