BY BAFANA NZIMANDE
Unfinished business: State still has to settle more than 600 claims stemming from massacre
The government has paid R3.9-million to a family that claimed loss of support as a result of a death in the 2012 Marikana massacre.
A similar offer has been made to legal teams representing 36 mineworkers killed by police during the 2012 wage strike in Marikana, Rustenburg.
Police ministry spokesman Vuyo Mhaga said more than R29-million had been budgeted for families of the dead and the government was doing its best to make payments.
“One deceased’s family claim has been settled. There is constant liaison with other legal teams to finalise this matter. At the last meeting it was agreed that outstanding documentation will be obtained by the plaintiffs’ attorneys and submitted as soon as possible,” said Mhaga.
He said they had received 653 claims, some for loss of support as a result of death, assault, arrest and detention. The total claims are estimated at R1.1-billion.
“The R3.9-million that has been paid is not the standard figure for all loss-of-support claims. Each payment will be motivated by the number of dependants the deceased had,” he said.
The legal team representing the family that was paid out said their clients had instructed them not to talk to the media.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute, which represents 320 clients, confirmed it had received settlement offers, which their clients were considering.
“The case brought by the claimants that SERI represents encompassed a number of claims including loss of support and emotional shock. The state has made settlement offers to some of the claimants. However, these offers are made only in relation to loss of support. We are still consulting with our clients regarding these offers,” said SERI attorney Keamogetswe Thobakgale.
“Given that clients are still considering the offers, we are not in a position to discuss the figures.
“With regards to emotional shock, for instance, the state has indicated that we should provide reports by psychologists. We have provided some to the state and are in the process of obtaining the rest,” he said.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing about 300 miners who were injured or arrested at Marikana, has accused the government of dragging out compensation negotiations.
Speaking at the fifth Marikana massacre commemoration in Rustenburg, Mpofu accused political leaders of using the grief of Marikana victims as a canvassing tool whenever there is an election.
“This government is continuing to torture our people. We have told them that when it comes to the question of compensation, they must talk to us as the lawyers so that we can give the message to our clients.
“For five years now, all the time they go to the newspapers and say: ‘This is what is happening in Marikana.’ The president of Amcu [Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union] said to me, if it was not for the fact that we are part of this family, the people of Marikana would think the lawyers have got this money but we are keeping it, because every day we hear messages of R1.8-billion.
“All of these are lies. They are further torturing the people of Marikana,” said Mpofu.
Lawyer Andries Nkome said a forum involving state lawyers and those representing Marikana victims was created to help improve communication but the state had spurned the forum.
“We wanted to keep all discussions in that forum so that we could settle once and for all, but the state attorneys started calling parties separately to hold discussions. This shows they are not negotiating in good faith.
“None of our clients have received a cent from the state since 2012. Clearly they are stalling this process since it’s entirely in their hands to make offers and compensate,” said Nkome.