Marikana victims seek damages from S.African government

29th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Victims' families and survivors of a 2012 police shooting that left 34 miners dead will seek compensation from the South African government after the official inquiry was released, their lawyer said Monday.

Dali Mpofu said he would lodge the claim in the courts before the third anniversary of the Marikana shootings, which were the worst violence since the end of apartheid 20 years ago.

"Before the 16th of August the civil claim against the state must be lodged and we are going to lodge it," Mpofu, who is representing 300 people including those arrested, told AFP.

The families of the dead, the injured and those arrested have expressed disappointment at the inquiry's findings, which cleared top government officials of any blame in the killings.

The inquiry was established by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the events at Lonmin's Marikana mine which claimed 44 lives including 10 killed before the police shootings.

The report laid the blame on the police, but exonerated the country's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the then ministers of police and mines.

Mpofu said the legal action could include approaching The Hague-based International Criminal Court.

"(My clients) gave me the mandate yesterday and asked to see all options, including the ICC. Now we have to see and advise them," he said.

The report cleared Ramaphosa, who was then a non-executive director and shareholder at Lonmin but held no government office, saying the accusations against him were "groundless".

Lawyers for the survivors of the shooting had accused him of triggering the massacre.

The inquiry heard that Ramaphosa contacted the ministers of police and mining ahead of the killings, pushing for police intervention to end a strike urgently.

South Africa has recently clashed with the ICC, saying it may withdraw from the international court after a dispute over the government's refusal to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited Johannesburg.


© 2015 AFP

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