Mpofu: Justice delayed better than none

Advocate Dali Mpofu said his legal team is ready to return to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Advocate Dali Mpofu on Monday said his legal team is ready to return to the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

He approached the South Gauteng High Court to obtain funding for miners injured and arrested at last year's Marikana shooting in the North West.

The Johannesburg court ruled in his favour on Monday morning.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's Xolani Gwala on Monday, the advocate said his team used the hours following the ruling to study the judgment before making recommendations to clients.

Mpofu said they decided return to the commission straight away, which the clients then accepted.

He says navigating the intricacies of how and when the funding will come through will take some time.

Gwala questioned Mpofu on whether "a couple of days" was an accurate prediction for how long it could take.

He asked him whether the Legal Aid Board's argument that the lack of a Parliamentary act allowing funding for people not employed by the state means the process could in fact take months.

"It won't. All those arguments that were stated in the public domain and in court are exactly what the court heard and in spite of all those, it decided that state funding should be accorded to these people,"Mpofu said.

Mpofu referred to a previous court decision where the Treatment Action Campaign won a ruling forcing the state to provide free antiretroviral medication to people living with HIV and AIDS.

He says similar arguments were made then, but the court ruled in favour of the campaign nonetheless.

"When the rights of vulnerable individuals are at stake, then the state must make a plan," he says.


Mpofu hasn't appeared at the commission since 15 July.

It was postponed that day to allow him to continue fighting for funding.

But the inquiry had to resume in August, meaning Mpofu's team will have some catching up to do.

"There is a lot of ground to cover. There is a lot of work to be done," he admits.

But he says the process needs to be seen through and it will be possible to do so.

"That's the way it goes, somebody has to do the hard work."

President Jacob Zuma set up the inquiry to determine whether police were justified in using lethal force on striking miners at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

At least 34 people were killed in the 16 August 2012 shooting.

Asked whether it was worth going on with the inquiry at such a late stage, Mpofu said the battle had to continue.

"The victims will do anything to get to the truth," he says.

"Justice delayed is justice denied, but it's better than no justice at all," added Mpofu.

Monday's court victory is expected to set a precedent for future commissions of inquiry in South Africa.

Mpofu said the ruling could affect similar cases down the line.