/ 10 August 2022

Marikana lawsuits to be finalised by end of August

Marikanadsc 6836
A man looks at the ‘large koppie,’ where men gathered during the strike of Marikana where 34 striking mineworkers were killed by police.

The government still needs to pay compensation to 24 of the more than 280 claimants of the August 2012 Marikana massacre. The state has already paid R170.7-million to families who sued it after the tragedy.

Fhedzisani Pandelani, the solicitor general in the justice department, said at a briefing on Wednesday in Tshwane — less than a week before the massacre’s 10-year anniversary — that he had instructed the state attorney’s office to finalise the remaining claims, adding that the government hoped to conclude all litigations by the end of August. 

Moreover, Pandelani said the solicitor general’s office would develop five policies, one of which was approved by the cabinet in November last year, to ensure that litigation against the state did not take an “inordinate” amount of time to finalise.    

The payments to families are related to the week of 16 August 2012, when 44 people were killed during an unprotected strike by workers at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana, North West. The mineworkers had demanded a R12 500 monthly wage, as well as better living conditions.

During his update on the Marikana civil claims the solicitor general said the state and the remaining 24 litigants’ legal teams were before Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba in the Pretoria high court on Wednesday to try to finalise the matters.  

None of the 24 outstanding cases include families who have lost a breadwinner and are suing the state for loss of income, Pandelani added. 

“The other [24] matters … are actually still undergoing discussions between the parties, meaning representatives of the state [and] representatives of the claimants are … in court trying to reach some sort of settlement or, alternatively, indicating to the deputy judge president that there is no agreement. In which case, the matter will be allocated to a judge for finality. However, the [court] dates that have been set do not go beyond the month of August,” he said. 

“It is regrettable that we can still stand here and talk about matters that, in fact, occurred 10 years ago. We cannot live forever and have any matter that is remaining, and I can also give the assurance that, to the extent that it is possible, we could be in a position to resolve all of those matters within this month,” he said. 

“The office of the solicitor general has already developed a policy that is binding within state departments for any settlement of matters. And that policy has been approved by [the] cabinet on 9 November 2021.

“We will be presenting that policy to parliament for noting. Matters such as these should not be delayed inordinately. They need to be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.” 

The other policies being developed to assist the state in litigation included how claims are initiated, defended and opposed, Pandelani said.