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'Marikana Inquiry a disappointment'

The inquiry is scheduled to resume today after several postponements.

FILE: Retired South African judge, Ian Farlam, at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Marikana Commission of Inquiry's credibility and significance is once again in the spotlight, as the country prepares to commemorate the anniversary of the Marikana killings.

The inquiry is scheduled to resume today after several postponements as Advocate Dali Mpofu continues to try and secure state funding while he prepares to take his case to the Constitutional Court.

Mpofu is representing miners injured and arrested during the violence.

He has been representing the miners on a pro bono basis but has been fighting for state funding for weeks, saying it's only fair that all parties are equally represented at the inquiry with government funding the police's legal team.

But as the one year anniversary of the shooting approaches, it appears that parties on all sides are frustrated that the inquiry hasn't yet provided any answers.

Miners who are organising an event to remember their slain colleagues on Friday say their biggest disappointment a year down the line is the inquiry.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) President Joseph Mathunjwa said the miners and victims' families want clarity.

"We have yet to hear any substantive testimony that provides clear answers."

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega has also called for things to be speeded up.

"We have to wait for this process to be completed and hopefully that day will not be delayed any further."

The commission has not yet completed phase one of the inquiry, which examines the police's conduct on the day of the shooting.

ONE YEAR LATER

Marikana came into the spotlight last year after 34 miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on striking miners.

The week before, during the build-up to the violence, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

Monday marked exactly one year since South Africans heard about two Lonmin security guards who had been killed and set alight by striking miners.

The inquiry was set up by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the miners and why the police opened fire.

The miners were demanding better salaries.

Several people including Phiyega have testified at the inquiry. She has come under fire for defending the police saying they feared for their lives as the miners were armed with pangas.