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Marikana miners may take case to ICC

Lawyers have been told to not rule out launching an international court bid for justice.

FILE: Police open fire at protesting workers at the Lonmin mine in Marikana on 16 August 2012. Picture: EWN.

MARIKANA - Marikana mineworkers and the families of those killed in the 2012 massacre at the Lonmin Platinum Mine have told their lawyers not to rule out launching an international court bid for justice.

Lawyer for the arrested and injured miners, advocate Dali Mpofu, said they have not ruled out approaching the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The workers were on Sunday addressed by lawyers and their union, the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu), on the contents of the Marikana report.

They voiced their anger at the exoneration of ministers Susan Shabangu, Nathi Mthethwa and then Lonmin shareholder, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Lawyer James Nichol appeared for the miners and families at the commission and said calling an international judge to hear evidence was not unheard of.

"There is a new commission commencing very shortly and the head of the commission comes from New Zealand. There is no reason at all why commissioners cannot come from outside of South Africa. It happens in the United Kingdom and other countries."

The lawyers told workers they would continue consultations every week and announce their planned action soon.

Last week, President Jacob Zuma released the Farlam Commission of Inquiry's report into the fatal August 2012 shooting.

MINERS WANT TO SUE THE STATE

Miners and families of the victims said they also wanted to sue the state, saying the commission's report has offered no reprieve.

Those who were part of the inquiry have pointed out some discrepancies between what Zuma told the nation and the actual report.

Police have been heavily criticised for their conduct on the day of shootings when 34 miners were killed, with their operational plan referred to as 'defective'.

There is an overwhelming sense that not enough emphasis was placed on the police's conduct in the commission's report.

The community wanted individuals to be held accountable and for people to go to jail.

The report found that those members who fired at scene one had reason to believe that they were facing an imminent attack.

There are indications that some may well have exceeded the bounds of self or private defence, especially at scene two and these issues have been referred to the director of public prosecutions.

But questions have been raised as to why government hasn't been held accountable.

The commission also found that Amcu did not do enough to quell the violence during the six-week unprotected strike.

But mineworkers have rushed to the defence of Amcu and its leader Joseph Mathunjwa.

At least five workers raised their concerns with the commission for blaming Amcu.

Mathunjwa has asked why he was mentioned in the report, but the former president and general secretary of the NUM were not.

"When they marched to the NUM office, that union shot their own members. NUM is the one who started the whole chaos at Lonmin. I find it strange and difficult to digest how Amcu or my name was mentioned."

The commission also recommended that national police commissioner Riah Phiyega be investigated for her fitness in office, but reports indicate that she will not leave her position without a fight.

To read the full Marikana report, click here.

To read the highlights from the president's report click here.

Follow the #EWNDebate on the Marikana report here.

NOTE: Eyewitness News will host a panel discussion on the report's impact and merits at Primedia Place in Sandton this morning at 09:30.

If you would like to be part of the debate, e-mail news@ewn.co.za

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