Fight Over Legal Fees For Marikana Miners in South Africa

Fight Over Legal Fees For Marikana Miners in South Africa

From BBC

South Africa’s main opposition party has criticized the government’s refusal to pay legal fees for miners at an official inquiry into killings at Marikana mine in August 2012.

The Democratic Alliance said the decision was “a slap in the face.”

Forty four people died during wage protests, including 34 striking miners shot by police.

The inquiry has been delayed several times over legal funding for hundreds of injured and arrested miners.

President Jacob Zuma set up the Marikana commission of inquiry to investigate the events leading to the killings.

The killings at the Lonmin-owned platinum mine near the town of Marikana, 120 km (70 miles) north-west of Johannesburg, shocked South Africa and hit confidence in its mining sector.

In the immediate aftermath of the police killings, the authorities sought to portray the miners, who were striking illegally, as responsible for the violence and bloodshed.

Some 270 of the striking miners were arrested and charged with murder, though the charges were later provisionally dropped.

‘Credibility threatened’

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said funding the legal team for the mine workers was outside of the legal framework for the use of state funds.

Lawyers representing about 270 miners say they had approached the government to foot the bill as it was paying for the lawyers representing the police.

But Mr Radebe said that state funds could only be used for people employed by the state.

Read more at BBC.