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Marikana inquiry enters final phase

Closing arguments are being heard today from evidence leaders about the commission's purpose.

FILE: Retired Judge Ian Farlam listens during the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana shooting, on 3 October 2012. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Farlam Commission of Inquiry has entered its final phase with closing arguments being heard today from evidence leaders about the purpose of the commission.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the inquiry to investigate whether police were justified in using lethal force when 34 protesting miners were gunned down at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

Ten people were also killed in the days leading to the shooting including a mineworker, strikers, two Lonmin security guards and two policemen.

Today, arguments have focused on how to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again and ensuring roleplayers are held accountable in order for the healing process to start.

Evidence leader Geoff Budlender has urged the commission not to look at the evidence presented over the past two years in terms of narrow legal liability.

Budlender said the commission should focus on whether the roleplayers acted as they should have, but emphasised that it's about much more than just criminal liability.

He said even if the police believed it was lawful to open fire on the miners on 16 August 2012, if the operation was the result of reckless planning, then the police would be responsible.

Every legal team will have an opportunity to present its final arguments and then the commission has until the end of March to hand over its findings to the Presidency.