Posted on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 11:22

South Africa: Last call for Marikana commission on mass police killings

By Crystal van Vyk

On August 16, 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police fired on a group gathered at a hill near the mine while attempting to disperse and disarm them. Photo©ReutersA panel investigating the mass killings of South African miners by police two years ago has started hearing oral arguments from legal teams as it winds up its operations.

The curtain started coming down on the Marikana Commission's public hearings on Wednesday with the closing arguments.

After two years of oral evidence from 56 witnesses, and transcripts running to almost 40,000 pages, legal teams will now give their final statement on the tragic events that shook South Africa.

Forty-four people were killed during unrest at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana in August 2012.

Thirty-four people, mostly striking mineworkers, were shot dead in a clash with the police on August 16.

President Jacob Zuma appointed retired judge Ian Farlam to chair the commission probing the events that occurred from August 11 to 16, 2012 at the mine near Rustenburg.

The commission commenced its work in September of the same year and it was never going to be an easy task.

It has been a mammoth task and it certainly was not easy for victims to come face to face with police management and hear what led to the brutal slayings.

And it has not been easy for family members. Long days of hearings and often technical explanations from the police did little to bring closure for the families.

It was supposed to be an opportunity for victims to tell their story of a brutal event that has scarred South Africa. Whether that will be the case remains a burning issue.

The commissioners will then submit its final report to the presidency by the end of March 2015.

According to a recent report by United Kingdom based Channel 4 television station and the Daily Maverick, lawyers and arrested mineworkers, represented by Dali Mpofu, want the commission to recommend that the country's Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa be charged with murder, corruption and perjury.

Mpofu's legal team says if this fails it will seek recourse at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

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