OPEN memo to advocate Dali Mpofu, of the legal team representing the Marikana families:
The South African public cannot be faulted if they think that the Farlam Commission is a terrible farce.
It seems as if government is using it as a tool to exculpate it from any responsibility for what had happened at Marikana on August 12 last year.
The government has gone to great lengths to defend the actions of its police and the fact that it has already spent R7-million in their defence is testimony enough that there is an unacceptable imbalance in the scales of justice. The Farlam Commission's findings cannot be righteous and just when these families are left to fend for themselves against a government that has millions to spend on crack legal teams.
Should the Farlam Commission in the end pronounce fair judgment, there is no guarantee that this government will honour those findings. It is an unfortunate fact that the ruling party has a culture of instituting commissions of investigation, in an attempt to pacify the people of South Africa, and then they merely ignore the findings and recommendations. What happened in the Andries Tatane murder case made a mockery of justice in South Africa.
There is serious doubt whether this government will ever accept liability for the actions of its police and state security organs.
While the Farlam Commission continues with its business, it does not preclude the Marikana families suing the government and Lonmin in civil court.
There is an abundance of evidence, such as Cyril Ramaphosa's e-mails, and the recordings and photographs of our police mowing down these workers, to hope that a civil suit might result in the families being fairly compensated.
The affected families, who in many cases lost their sole breadwinner, can barely survive and we seem to be dealing with a heartless government that is hell-bent on destroying the last hope of these people.
Given that the future of this commission is in tatters, why do you not consider that we fundraise for these families to assist them to file papers in civil court?
Bantu Holomisa, UDM president