Uncertainty on Marikana inquiry end-date

The commission's Phuti Setati says it’s not clear when the final report will be submitted.


JOHANNESBURG - It's unclear if the Marikana Commission of Inquiry will conclude its investigation by the end of this month as planned.

It was set up in October 2012 and initially given four months to investigate the deaths of 44 people during an unprotected and violent strike at Lonmin's Marikana mine in August 2012.

There have been several delays and commissioner Ian Farlam has not yet heard testimony from all sides including the police, unions and families of the victims.

The commission's Phuti Setati says it's not clear when their final report will be submitted.

"The commission will have to generate a report that must have recommendations. We've put measures in place to make sure we meet the deadline but the chairperson of the commission is conducting an investigation to see if we'll meet the deadline."

Meanwhile, an alleged plan by the police to cover up shortcomings during the Marikana shootings dominated testimony at the commission last week.

North West air wing commander Salmon Vermaak told the commission that he was asked to misrepresent information surrounding the Marikana protests and to take the blame for 18 deaths at one of the koppies.

Vermaak, who was the so-called 'eye in the sky' during the protests, tried to punch holes in the police's version of how the violence was handled by officers on the ground.

He said senior police commanders lacked the skills and experience to deal with the level of violence.

Vermaak also criticised the police's plan of action to disperse and disarm the strikers.