Amcu: Mpofu will get funding

Amcu says it will personally ensure that Dali Mpofu gets funding to participate in the Marikana Inquiry.

FILE: AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa speaks during a media briefing about the Lonmin peace deal. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Joseph Mathunjwa, President of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), says he will personally ensure that Advocate Dali Mpofu will receive funding to represent miners at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

On Monday, the Constitutional Court dismissed Mpofu's application to appeal an earlier High Court ruling which found the state did not have to pay for the legal fees of the miners arrested or injured during the Marikana killing last year.

Mathunjwa said the court's decision was an injustice to the miners.

"We will make sure that Dali Mpofu gets funding. Even if it means taking out a second bond on our houses, we will do so. The truth of what really happened in Marikana needs to be put before the nation."

The inquiry has been postponed several times this year and has been criticised for its slow progress a year after the deadly shootings.

Mpofu, who has been representing the miners on a pro bono basis, has been attempting to secure state funding for several months, saying it's only fair that all parties are equally represented at the inquiry.

Government is funding the police's legal team.

Mpofu first brought an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court seeking state funding, but this was dismissed.

He then went on to make an application at the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court said the applicants didn't do enough to show why the interim ruling by the High Court should be overturned.


Mpofu said the miners he is representing are disappointed by the court's decision and may stage a march to protest the ruling.

"They've also asked us to seek permission for them to hold a peaceful demonstration to the union buildings among other places in pursuit of their right to legal representation at the expense of the state."

Mpofu has also provisionally withdrawn from the inquiry as the battle for funding continues.

He will now hope for an announcement by an anonymous donor this week, which may be his last chance at finding funding.

Until then, Mpofu will no longer attend the inquiry, meaning the cross-examination of a police officer who testified earlier this year will continue without him.

A number of the legal teams involved have withdrawn from proceedings in solidarity with Mpofu's application.

It's also emerged that platinum miner Lonmin, the company at the centre of the inquiry, has turned down a separate request to help pay the fees.

The Hola Bon Renaissance Foundation apparently made the request themselves, but Lonmin argues it would implicate itself in a conflict of interest by funding the miners.

The inquiry was set up by President Jacob Zuma after 44 people, including police officers, were killed during illegal strike action at Marikana on August 16 2012.

The miners were demanding better salaries and conditions.

Friday marked the one-year anniversary since 34 miners were gunned down and 78 others wounded during a standoff with police at Lonmin's Marikana Platinum Mine.

It followed an unprotected strike, in which 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

The incident has been described as the bloodiest shooting in post-apartheid South Africa.