'Govt must continue funding Marikana families'

Family members mourn at a memorial service for the Marikana miners who were killed in a shootout with police on 16 August 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

MARIKANA - The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) on Sunday condemned the Department of Justice's decision to withdraw funding to house and feed families of the victims of the Marikana tragedy during the Commission of Inquiry.

On Saturday, CASAC said that government chose to withdraw funding the families of the victims during the lengthy inquiry into the tragedy.

The council said the decision will infringe upon the rights of the families, who have a right to attend the proceedings.

“We call on government to reserve the decision immediately. If that is not done then Judge Ian Farlam must suspend the commission until the families can be there.”

The decision to stop funding families to attend the inquiry was made by the department’s director-general Nonkululeko Sindane, arguing that government had no legal obligation to pay for the housing of families.

The families are relatives of the 34 miners that were shot dead during a clash with police in Marikana on 16 August during wage protests.

President Jacob Zuma established the inquiry to probe the killings, with Farlam hired to head the commission. 

The funds enabled the families, who live as far as the Eastern Cape, to attend hearings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre.

(Edited by Zethu Zulu)