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Khulumani Supports the Call for Minister Nhleko and Government to Accept Vicarious Liability for the Marikana Killings & to Make Reparation to Affected Families

Widows of miners killed in the Marikana massacre Widows of miners killed in the Marikana massacre Image: BBC

Khulumani Support Group supports the call made by Advocate George Bizos on behalf of the families and survivors of the Marikana massacre, that the Minister of Police, Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko along with government, accept vicarious liability for the deaths and injuries incurred at the Lonmin mine strike in August 2012, at the hands of the police, and take immediate steps to provide repair to the lives of those harmed in the course of these events. Almost three years since the Marikana killings, families and survivors’ lives remain unrepaired.

There can be no more delay. Government must urgently undertake reparation and compensation for damage inflicted by members of the South African Police Services on behalf of the state and must immediately establish a process to determine the scope of the measures needed to effect some form of repair to the families devastated by these killings and injuries.

The Marikana Commission of Inquiry has completed its work. Although the report has not yet been made public, evidence presented at the Commission (including numerous public statements by police authorities) has confirmed the role of the police in the killings of striking mine workers, in an action in pursuance of an unfortunate plan agreed by the police to end the strike. The principle of vicarious liability can leave no doubt that the Minister of Police, and the government, remain responsible for this harm.

Munusamy (Daily Maverick, 15 May 2015, Another perfect storm: Will Marikana be Zuma’s new Nkandla?) explains that “Everyone in the chain of command in the police operation is known and the massacre happened in broad daylight, with the media present and other mineworkers witnessing what amounts to deliberate executions. Yet nobody has been suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry.” Khulumani shares Munusamy’s view that “The Marikana commission is much more than what happened on 16 August 2012. It deals with fundamental issues of our democratic order – the value of human life, the behavior of the state towards its citizens and the course of justice.”

The extent of the harm done to the lives of the affected families was laid bare in presentations made at the SERI-organised conference held at the University of the Witwatersrand last week, entitled Commissioning the Present: Marikana and its aftermath.

The continuing delays in releasing the Commission’s report are re-traumatising and re-victimising the survivors and family members of the victims of the killings. These are people to whom Government owes a duty of care and protection. Khulumani calls on Government to accept its responsibility for repairing the damage to lives, done on its watch, and in its name.

For comment, please contact:

  • Ms Nomarussia Bonase on 060 878 9778 or
  • Ms Judy Seidman on 072 620 6944

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