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Rights group considers court to force state to pay Marikana damages

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) said it may be forced to approach the courts after negotiations with the state over damages for families of the Marikana massacre victims deadlocked.

FILE: The Marikana community buried Lonmin worker Papi Ledingoane on 25 August 2012. He died during a violent protest in the area. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) said it may be forced to approach the courts after negotiations with the state over damages for families of the Marikana massacre victims deadlocked.

The organisation represents 37 families which lodged claims in relation to loss of support and damages for pain and suffering, loss of family life and spousal care.

The institute said that negotiations with the state, which had been ongoing since the action was launched in 2015, stalled last week.

Although the state had said it would accept liability following the Marikana massacre, it appeared that the process was far from over.

Nomzamo Zondo from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute said that the parties were still far apart on the amount for reparatory damages.

"We were part of negotiations where there was almost a settlement but as recently as last week, the state came back and said 'this is our position and this position is final'. It does seem like we've taken the negotiation as far as we can take it. It might be the next place to take it is the court."

The state did, however, make the first round of payments to the families in August 2018 relating to the loss of support.

Seri has confirmed that the state paid R70 million in total, while the claim made amounted to R320 million.

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