The Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the events at Marikana in August 2012 is enriching lawyers and should be wrapped up without further delays, the SA Communist Party said on Monday.
“It is extremely worrying that the tragedy of Marikana has become a source of private accumulation of wealth by some individuals masquerading as the defenders of the working class and the poor,” spokesman Alex Mashilo said in a statement.
The Sunday Independent reported that the lawyers for hundreds of miners injured and arrested during the 2012 Marikana shootings had received about R5.13 million in legal fees.
Legal Aid SA estimated that the money paid to the lawyers could have helped up to 1000 people who qualified for legal assistance.
On Sunday, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (SERI) said in a statement that up to R5.13 million had been tendered, but not yet paid, to the miners’ legal team.
The report’s claim that the amount could fund 1000 people’s legal fees needed to be interrogated, SERI said.
“The fact is that there are approximately 300 miners, and the cost and complexity of representation at the Commission is far greater than that faced by an ordinary civil litigant.”
The commission, led by retired judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the deaths of 44 people during strike-related violence at Lonmin’s platinum mining operations at Marikana in August 2012.
Mashilo said: “The SACP calls for the issue of legal fees to be re-visited in commissions of inquiry, and for the work of the Farlam Commission to be concluded without any further undue delays.”
Commission spokesman Phuti Setati could not immediately be reached for comment. SAPA