Is Marikana – Enquiry a potential running tap or an industry in the making!

– Who stands to benefit materially from the Farlam Commission?-


This morning we awake to the news that Advocate Dali Mpofu is warning that today may be his last day representing the Marikana victims & families before the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. Advocate Mpofu told the Farlam Commission of Inquiry that due to financial constraints, Friday could be his last day representing the miners injured in the incident.

At the heart of the warning is the issue of finance or otherwise money nothing else but money. I am not privy to how much the entire Farlam Commission will in its totality finally cost the public yet I shall dare to advance that the final script for the Farlam Commission at this stage as some of us speculated at its inception is a foregone conclusion .

The Farlam Commission will conclude with a set of recommendations in which no one is ultimately charged or found liable criminally. The findings will be against the three key parties (mine-management, the workers, and the police). It does not take rocket science to decipher that all three parties regardless are complicit. Regardless to how dramatic days may unfold in what is often a testosterone driven show of flexing muscle. In the end, all three parties will stand guilty for their conjoined and complicit roles in this tragedy that visited upon the collective conscious of Mzansi.

We may never make light of the fact that in the week of August 16, 2012, 34 African lives were destroyed and more wounded due to the role of workers, police, and management. Notwithstanding the elaborate and well-structured dispute platforms for typical labour challenge South Africa presides over, we had the unfortunate incident of a Marikana 2012.

In some circles, we have heard veiled threats of, God forbid, another possible Marikana 2013, if the unfolding and highly sensitive labour issues around the mining sector are the base. The turbulence in this sector with its volatile organised labour context has in recent days impacted negatively on the greater economy and yet the final chapter in this episode is not written.

We are all in concert Marikana 2012 remains an avoidable tragedy in our post-apartheid context that needed not to happen. Yet occurred when due process in dispute resolutions was abandoned giving opportunity for violence and mayhem, which led to unnecessary African life loss.

Workers may strike as a right yet striking workers cannot exercise such right armed to the teeth with pangas and guns in the hope of having a labour issue resolved.

Police needed to prove more circumspect properly briefed, led by qualified leadership equipped in implementing a proper response for crowd control.

Mine management needed to anticipate the end game and proved sensitive to find proper solutions answering the multi-faceted challenges confronted by the mineworkers. Mine management should have anticipated the threat of life loss.

The aforementioned pretty much devoid of all technical legal jargon will be the ultimate findings of the Farlam commission.

That aside the sad reality is this, is it possible that Marikana is becoming an economy, in and of itself. An economy built on the pain of victims. Victims who quite possibly may remain victims for life (only because justice may never be theirs). Victims who may never benefit because it appears the legal counsel are the new victims because they will walk away with the money that the surviving members are to share.

Is Marikana not an economy and a proverbial running tap in which money is flowing, however on the wrong side? Will the justice the surviving victims seek remain deferred? Who will be richer after Marikana enquiry? Is legal counsel the correct epicentre of the Marikana enquiry for the right reasons?

If Marikana exists, does it only exist with the paradigm of finding against one group of the three and for what reason?

Can the public know how much the legal counsel is paid? How many more months the Farlam Commission will sit to conclude on what we already as the public can see it will find? I guess we have a right to know how much legal counsel is paid for each day it sits on behalf of the victims.

Advocate Mpofu and all legal counsel how much of your defense on behalf of the victims is purely inspired by the potential industry Marikana is becoming.

When we ask these questions, it in no sense is to deny the true victims access to the best, it is to ensure the best don’t go to the legal counsels but find its due and proper way into the wrecked lives of surviving victims.

As simplistic as this may sound it appears a better solution is to pay out all this money to the actual surviving members, instead of legal counsel. Yet I know there are those who will shout what do you know about legal processes? To them I shall softly say I know this, too often the victims remain victims when legal counsel walk away with the spoils.

Clyde N. Ramalaine

Independent Commentator


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