Is the ground even for all participants at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry
Ahead of the one year commemoration of the Marikana tragedy on the 16TH of next month, the community in Marikana has been disgruntled for months now since the establishment of the Farlam Commision of inquiry. The residents of Nkaneng informal settlement in Wonderkop where the incident occurred have raised concern over the drama surrounding the Commission. The commission was supposed to have been investigating the shooting of 34 Lonmin mineworkers who died at the hands of police. It has recently been rocked by issues over legal funding for the lawyers representing the wounded and arrested Lonmin mineworkers. Three legal teams provisionally withdrew their participation at the commission in the previous week, pending the judgement of the North Gauteng High Court. Among those who withdrew include human rights lawyer advocate George Bizo’s who is acting on behalf of the Legal resources centre.
The legal team led by Advocate Dali Mpofu filed an application to force the government to foot the bill for their course following the move of the hearings from Rustenburg to Centurion. The lawyers then argued the move was part of mitigating the issue of costs. Now the high court has dismissed the application and advised that the team settle the matter out of court.
Since Monday the lawyers have been persuing other avenues to secure interim funding. They have submitted letters to both President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to see whether they are willing to engage on the matter. The team’s Muzi Msimang indicated on Tuesday that they have also approached the Legal Aid Board. It’s believed they are currently awaiting a response from a potential funder. It’s unclear who the potential funder may be ,but the lawyers are confident they will secure funding outside of government. There has been mixed reaction from members of the public with most saying the commission must be called off. However Lonmin mineworkers and residents in Nkaneng say government must do all in its power to ensure there’s funding for advocate Dali Mpofu and his team.They have accused the government of funding the lawyers representing the police who murdered their colleagues. They further argue justice will not prevail until the issue of funding for their lawyers has been resolved.