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Marikana families sue police minister

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Families of the 37 mineworkers killed in Marikana are taking on Police Minister Nathi Nhleko in court.

The families, represented by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI), the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Wits Law Clinic, filed papers at the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday morning.

In a statement issued by SERI and LRC, they said the majority of the mineworkers were the sole breadwinners in their families. The deceased mineworkers also supported large extended families on their “meagre income”.

The 37 mineworkers supported a total of 326 dependants. Their families live in the North West, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Lesotho and Swaziland.

The families continued to “live in unbearable conditions of grinding poverty, and, despite some ex gratia assistance from charities and churches, remain destitute following their [the mineworkers’] deaths”, the SERI and LRC said.

The families are claiming compensation for:

– The loss of the financial support of the deceased to their families;

– Grief and emotional shock caused by the death of their husbands, fathers, brothers and caregivers;

– The medical expenses of psychological and psychiatric treatment;

– The loss of family life and parental care.

“The families also claim a formal apology from the minister of police for the loss of their loved ones,” the SERI and LRC said.

“An apology will bring much needed closure to the families who feel they have been abandoned by the South African government.”

Kathleen Hardy, SERI attorney for the families, said the suit shouldn’t be necessary, as the Marikana Commission of Inquiry spent more than two years establishing what was “already clear in video and media footage: the SAPS are responsible for causing these deaths”.

On August 16 2012, police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers at Lonmin’s mine in Marikana, in the North West. The remaining three were killed on August 13, among 10 killed in the week prior.

The police ministry could not be reached for comment. News24

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