Marikana inquiry resumes

Families of the Marikana victims are attending the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Families of the 34 mineworkers killed at Lonmin mine attend the Marikana inquiry at the civic centre in Rustenburg, on 22 October 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Families of the miners who died during unrest in Marikana will on Monday attend the Commission of Inquiry into the shooting of 34 miners on 16 August, after government agreed to continue paying for transport and accommodation costs.

Legal teams representing the relatives have said it is vital that they attend, so that they are part of the process which uncovers the truth behind the killings at Lonmin platinum mine during a five-week stoppage over wages.

A total of 47 lives were claimed by the violent illegal strike.

The families arrived in Rustenburg last night and are expected to stay for as long as the inquiry continues.

Spokesperson for the commission, Kevin Malunga, said they had tried to accommodate as many people as possible.

He said they could only afford to fund one representative per family.

The inquiry will continue with testimony from a fourth policeman who was sent to the scene of the Marikana shooting to collect evidence.

The commission has so far heard that about 900 bullets were fired on that day, although the all the cartridges found could not be positively linked to all of the dead miners.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about widows of Marikana miners, who are being made to travel to the inquiry on their own.

According to cultural practices, those in mourning should not travel alone.

Legal teams representing the families on Monday said the widows would have liked a relative to travel with them to Rustenburg as part of a cultural practice.

But Commissioner Ian Farlam said the reality was that Government was only paying for one family member per victim.

"They have a choice, either they come on their own or not comply with the cultural norms."

Violence erupted in Marikana when about 3,000 Lonmin mineworkers downed tools in demand of R12,500 salaries.

The inquiry was mandated to determine what led to the bloodshed during the illegal strike.