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R2K pushing for Marikana report release

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The Right2Know Campaign (R2K) is leading a bid to force President Jacob Zuma into releasing the Farlam Commission Report on the Marikana Massacre; more than two and a half years after 44 striking miners were tragically shot and killed by SAPS officials at the North-West based mine. Along with the Marikana Support Campaign (MSC) and South African History Archive (SAHA), R2K have submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request to the Presidency demanding the report’s release.

As stipulated in the country’s constitution, the Presidency is required by law to provide a response to the request within 30 days of the application, submitted on May 19th.

Zuma has faced severe criticism over the delay in the report’s release, particularly after suggestions he needed to “apply his mind” prior to its release. Amongst those critics was R2K national organiser, Siviwe Mdoda who stressed the report was a matter of national interest, hence its release was of grave important to the public at large.

“We see this as a question of justice being delayed, and when justice is delayed it is justice denied. We have families that have lost their loved ones, workers who were injured, and those with cases in court that still need answering over what happened,” he said.

During a recent conference in Johannesburg hosted by the newly-formed ASRI Institute, several members of the MSC stormed a dinner where deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa was to deliver an address. The country’s number two was reportedly accosted and questioned over the delay in the Farlam report’s release. During the incident, the MSC members were allegedly assaulted and ejected from the venue.

Addressing the incident, Mdoda said the individuals in question were simply raising their concerns, well aware that Ramaphosa, who severed as a major shareholder of the Lonmin-owned mine, had given evidence to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. He highlighted widespread allegations that accused the deputy president of applying political pressure on police leadership to take up arms, in order to protect his own interest within the mine.

“The police commissioner of the North West has tendered his resignation. If the president says he will release it later, he is kind of buying time, allowing people who should be answering before courts (to leave their post),” he suggested, adding that there would be legal technicalities that could prevent such individuals from appearing before a court of law.

Mdoda also expressed worry that the delay may afford Zuma the opportunity to “water down” the report, in particular the recommendations on what he need do to address the situation.

R2K has demanded the Farlam report be released to the public in its entirety. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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