Marikana miners to march

Miners are demanding state funding for their legal team at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

FILE: Lonmin miners. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The survivors of the Marikana shooting will march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria today to demand state funding for their legal team at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

The hearings have resumed without Advocate Dali Mpofu who is representing the miners who were arrested and injured at last year's shooting at the commission.

He has withdrawn from the hearings while he tries to secure funds.

Mpofu has been attempting to secure state funding for several months saying it's unfair that police and other state parties have funding for private lawyers, while miners have to rely on representation from evidence leaders.

Bishop Jo Seoka, who is leading the march, says taxpayers' money is being spent on representing only one side of the story.

Seoka says this will affect the outcome of the commission.

"We are calling the nation to be present because this is all about their tax money. Taxes are being used for one particular party at the expense of the poor."

The Citizens for Marikana organisation's Erik de Ridder says the march will attempt to highlight the inequality of the commission should Mpoufu's team not secure funding.

"The victims, the miners and various other groups feel the imbalance of funding will lead to an imbalanced outcome of the commission. So they've temporarily withdrawn in the absence of funding to highlight that there is severe inequality."

Earlier this week, the inquiry dismissed an application by Mpofu to temporarily halt hearings while he tried to secure funding.

Judge Ian Farlam, who is heading the inquiry, said it wouldn't be unfair for the hearing to continue as witnesses can be recalled and daily transcripts can be studied while Mpofu heads to the high court again to appeal the matter.

Mpofu's application for state funding has already been dismissed by the Constitutional Court and high court.

The credibility of the commission has been questioned after several delays in the past year.

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

The miners were demanding better salaries.