'Legal Aid not seeking a repayment of Marikana fees'

Legal Aid says it doesn’t want a court to overrule its discretion, especially since it has budget constraints.

FILE: Widows holding onto red candles to symbolise the blood that was spilt. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Legal Aid South Africa has argued that a court should not be able to overrule its discretion when allocating funds.

Judgment has been reserved in the Constitutional Court case involving Legal Aid's funding to Marikana miners at the Commission of Inquiry.

In 2013, a High Court ordered Legal Aid to provide funding to the miners and while it did, it says this will set a precedent for future cases.

Legal Aid initially refused to fund the injured and arrested Marikana miners saying it didn't have the money to do so.

It eventually paid for their representation, but said this would now set a precedent for future public hearings.

Legal Aid's Gilbert Marcus says it's common course that this case will no practical effect but its' important for future cases.

"Legal Aid is not seeking a repayment of the money that has been paid out, however, the High Court judgment has a far wider implication."

Legal Aid says it doesn't want a court to overrule its discretion, especially since it has budgetary constraints and had already decided to fund the families of the deceased miners.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who also represented the miners, says Legal Aid mandate has changed.

"Now we're in a different ballgame, in the sense that commissions are fundable."


Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Thursday said if the Marikana Commission didn't find Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa ultimately responsible for the shootings almost three years ago it would pursue private prosecution.

Malema was addressing miners outside the Constitutional Court, where a Legal Aid case was heard.

He said the EFF has kept the Marikana issue alive, even by being there to support the workers in the Legal Aid case.

But his message was aimed at the Presidency to release the report, saying the EFF was expecting one outcome, calling Ramaphosa a 'murderer', who instructed many people below him to go ahead with the shooting.

"We don't expect anything from Judge Farlam, except to say that Ramaphosa is responsible for the murder of those workers."