From the news desk

Final lap for Marikana enquiry

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The Farlam Commission of Inquiry has been granted its final extension, spokesman Phuti Setati said on Tuesday.

“In terms of the latest terms of reference, the oral and final arguments by the parties represented at the commission will have to be done by November 14,” he told reporters in Marikana, near Rustenburg.

“We are not going to call any more witnesses. We have concluded the in loco inspections. What is only left is for the parties to state their final arguments.

The presidency has given us enough time.”
He said that after the oral arguments, the commission “will go into a report writing mode” until March 30, 2015.

The findings of the commission will be given to President Jacob Zuma.
On Tuesday, the commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, visited areas where protesting Lonmin miners were shot on August 16, 2012.

An inspection in loco was also done at the scene where Lonmin security guards Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelani were killed on August 12, 2012.
Evidence leader Matthew Chaskalson led a large delegation of commissioners, lawyers, journalists, surviving miners and widows at the places in Wonderkop, Marikana, North West.

A few of the miners wore red Economic Freedom Fighters T-shirts while some widows wore green Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) regalia.

Compared to the previous inspection in loco, there were fewer miners and widows. Numerous police officers accompanied the delegation. A few Nyala armoured personnel carriers were parked nearby.

The previous inspection, on September 8, was terminated due to security concerns. Chaos erupted when a woman wearing a red National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) T-shirt joined the inspection. Miners threatened her, shouting obscenities.

The area has been marked by rivalry between NUM and Amcu. Amcu replaced NUM as the dominant union at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations during the 2012 strike. Setati said the inspection on Tuesday was without glitches because of a screening process.

“The commission sat with all the parties involved in the inquiry and they came to an agreement with regards to limiting the number of people who attend the inspection,” he said.

“Rules were agreed to and today it went on peacefully. We are happy because we have managed to do what we have done.”

The commission is investigating the deaths of 44 people 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.

More than 70 people were wounded and more than 200 were arrested. The police were apparently trying to disarm and disperse them. In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed.

In June, Zuma extended the inquiry to September 30. The inquiry held initial public hearings in October 2012. SAPA

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