Marikana Commission of Inquiry
SERI represents the families of 36 striking miners, who were killed by the police on 13 and 16 August 2012, before the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Read more about the 36 miners and their families here. SERI also represents the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) at the Commission.
For further insights into the commission, and the families' experiences of it, visit a website SERI created together with the History Workshop here.
The Commission was appointed by the President of the Republic of South Africa in terms of section 84(2)(f) of the Constitution, and is chaired by Judge Ian Gordon Farlam. The Commission's mandate is "to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, in the North West Province, which took place between 11 and 16 August 2012 and which led to the deaths of approximately 44 people, more than 70 persons being injured and approximately 250 people being arrested." Hearings were initially held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre and at the Marikana Community Hall, commencing 1 October 2012. From June 2013, the Commission moved to the City of Tshwane Municipal Offices in Centurion. Written transcripts of the Marikana Commission hearings since 1 October 2012 are available here. A list of all the parties to the Commission and their legal representatives is available here.
Between 16 July and 14 October 2013 the families of the deceased and AMCU provisionally pulled out of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry’s proceedings, following a decision by the legal team of the arrested and injured miners to withdraw pending a High Court ruling on an application for the state to fund the legal team. The Magidiwana case is ongoing, read more about it here.
In September 2014 the Commission heard final evidence and adjourned to allow time for the legal teams to prepare for final arguments. In October 2014 the legal teams filed their heads of argument/written submissions. In November 2014 replying submissions and heads of argument were filed. All heads of argument documentation and information relating to Phase 2 of the Commission is available on its website here. On 14 November the Commission adjourned for the final time.
In March 2015 the report was sent to President Jacob Zuma, and was released on 25 June 2015. Read the final report here. The families are disappointed by the findings and recommendations of the report.
Evidence placed before the commission by SERI regarding each of the deceased, as well evidence from the mineworkers who testified at the commission have largely been ignored by the commission. The report relies heavily on the police’s description of the events and misrepresentation of the workers as violent group of men. The families find no closure or justice in the Marikana report, and are not any closer to the truth concerning how their loved ones died.
Heads of argument and written submissions filed in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry
Official documentation on the Marikana Commission of Inquiry
Marikana Commission of Inquiry Report
The Marikana Commissions' final report was handed to President Zuma at the end of March 2015. Almost two months after receiving the report, the President had not released it. On the 27 May 2015, SERI and the LRC sent letters to both the President and the Marikana Commission requesting the release the report. Amid mounting pressure, the President announced he would release it before the end of June 2015, almost three months later.
On 8 June 2015, the families of the deceased mineworkers supported an application in the High Court to compel the President to release the report. The families argued that the President is constitutionally obliged to release the report and to afford the families adequate notice of the date upon which the report will be released. To do otherwise would be in breach of the President’s obligations to uphold the rule of law, and to respect and protect the families’ rights to dignity.
The application to for the release of the Marikana report was brought by the Injured and Arrested Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). Judge Neil Tuchten dismissed the application on 15 June 2015.
Claassen Board of Inquiry
SERI op-eds on Marikana Commission
SERI press statements on its involvement in the Marikana Commission:
Damages claim against SAPS on behalf of the families of the deceased miners
In February 2013, the dependents of 36 of the miners killed by police at Marikana in August 2012 gave notice of their intention to sue the Minister of Police and the National Police Commissioner for damages. The families of the deceased will claim for loss of support and general damages. Notices were served on the SAPS in terms of section 3 of the Institution of Legal Proceedings against Certain Organs of State Act 40 of 2002. That Act requires anyone claiming damages from the state to notify the state of their intention to do so within 6 months of the damage taking place. If payment is not made within 30 days of receipt of the notices, the claimants will institute actions to recover the damages owed to them by the Minister of Police and the National Police Commissioner.
Most of the strikers killed at Marikana were the sole breadwinners in their households. Their family members have suffered irreparable loss of support following their deaths at the hands of police officers. Many of family members suffered severe emotional shock when they heard of the killing of their relatives, and now suffer from depression. Some family members suffered miscarriages while others died upon hearing of the killing of their relatives.
Marikana Support Campaign
SERI supports the work of the Marikana Support Campaign. Some press releases issued by the Marikana Support Campaign since 2012:
See here for a selection of media articles and press releases on the Marikana massacre.
Commissioning the Present: Marikana and its Aftermath
From 7 to 9 May 2015 SERI and the History Workshop at the University of the Witwatersrand will be hosting a convening entitled “Commissioning the Present: Marikana and its Aftermath” at the University of Witwatersrand’s School of Law.
Since 2012, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has been the site of struggles over the narratives, meanings, and implications of the events at Marikana. SERI and the History Workshop have convened this meeting to allow participants in the Commission and scholars to come together to consider the development of these narratives and stories, and to place both the massacre and the Commission in context. The three days of this convening will provide spaces for discussion and disagreement, and for the development of new political and social narratives.
Panel discussions and presentations will take place around a number of topics, including: The Commission’s Contexts: Social, Economic, Political; The Politics of Platinum; Gender and Lived Experience; Practices of Policing; Popular Politics after Marikana; Political Economies; Land and Custom; Experiencing the Commission: Civil Society Lawyers and Families and Affected Communities; and The Farlam Commission 20 Years after the TRC.