MARIKANA: SAHRC hopes funding solution is found before the resumption of the Commission on Thursday
23 July 2013
ATTENTION: Editors and Reporter
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is pleased that the Marikana Commission of Inquiry has been stood down until Thursday. The SAHRC calls on the Commission, government and all parties to use the break in proceedings to find a funding solution that will allow those injured and arrested at Marikana on 16 August 2012 to continue to take part in the Commission process.
The current position - where those injured and arrested by police have no funding for representation before the Commission - is unacceptable, particularly in a process that has been run on adversarial lines.
While the High Court has determined that neither the state nor legal aid is obliged to pay for the legal representation of the injured and arrested, it remains the case that they have a discretion to do so.
The Presidency, the Department of Justice, and the Legal Aid Board should urgently consider exercising that discretion to allow the work of the Commission to continue in an inclusive, responsive manner.
Denying funding - and therefore denying representation - to a party that includes many individuals who were shot by police excludes many of the most affected individuals from the Commission process.
This exclusion is also of an indigent group of persons, who are unable to afford legal services and should be assisted. Their exclusion hampers the ability of the Commission to fulfil its Terms of Reference.
Given the huge importance of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, and given the issues at stake, the SAHRC hopes that a solution can be reached before the resumption of the Commission on Thursday.
The SAHRC, in line with its constitutional mandate, will continue to monitor the proceedings.
ENDSFor comments email firstname.lastname@example.org [Back]
Issued by The South African Human Rights Commission
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