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Marikana lawyers await court ruling

Lawyers withdraw from Marikana Commission in solidarity with Dali Mpofu's team.

Dali Mpofu and Dumisa Ntsebeza chat during the Marikana Commission of Inquiry on 3 Oct 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers representing the families of Lonmin employees killed during last year's Marikana shooting say they will support a request that the Marikana Commission be postponed until an appeal for state funding in the Constitutional Court is completed.

Last week, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that the right to legal aid was not absolute leaving the miners without the support of Advocate Dali Mpofu's legal team.

The family members claim that without Advocate Dali Mpofu's team present, the commission will be one-sided.

Mpofu says he cannot continue representing miners on a pro bono basis, while lawyers for police officers are paid for by government.

The Justice Department has since encouraged the other legal teams who withdrew in solidarity with the miners to return to the commission.

According to Marikana Commission spokesman Tshepo Mahlangu, proceedings will resume without the lawyers representing the families.

Lawyer Teboho Mosikili says the families have instructed them to withdraw from the matter in solidarity with the injured and arrested miners who have applied for state funding for their legal team headed by Advocate Dali Mpofu.

"They say they are doubting the integrity of the inquiry. They are saying without Mpofu's participation, the whole commission itself is flawed," Mosikili said.

"The instructions thus far are that we support any admission made to the commission that the proceedings be postponed, however, all that is still pending the announcement we have been told is going to be made by the judge on Monday."

Mosikili added that if funding is granted to Mpofu's legal team by the state, they will return to the proceedings.