ZUMA: MARIKANA RE­PORT NOT ur­gent

CityPress - - Front Page - ATHANDIWE SABA athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma says that the ur­gent court ap­pli­ca­tion launched this past week to force him to re­lease the Marikana re­port is not ur­gent at all.

In an an­swer­ing af­fi­davit filed on Fri­day in the North Gaut­eng High Court in Pre­to­ria, Pres­i­dent Zuma in­sists he can only re­lease the re­port “af­ter I have stud­ied it, come to grips with the is­sues raised in it, and had an op­por­tu­nity to con­sider and con­sult on its im­pli­ca­tions”. The case will be ar­gued in court to­mor­row. “Th­ese an­tic­i­pated po­lit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions re­quire that I fully un­der­stand the con­se­quences of the re­port, least of all be­cause I will have to ad­dress the public, if not the na­tion, on its con­tents, and an­swer im­por­tant [and dif­fi­cult] ques­tions on its mean­ing and im­pact.”

Zuma’s af­fi­davit was filed in re­sponse to the ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion launched on Mon­day by the lawyers for the mine work­ers who were in­jured and ar­rested dur­ing and af­ter the Marikana massacre of Au­gust 2012.

In their pa­pers, the mine work­ers say that Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, whom they rec­om­mended to the com­mis­sion be charged with 34 counts of mur­der for his role in de­mand­ing “con­comi­tant ac­tion” from the po­lice, has ac­cess to the re­port. They said this “adds to our anx­i­ety” be­cause they fear that “the re­port may be in­ter­fered with due to this unique and un­usual sit­u­a­tion”.

Pres­i­dent Zuma does not re­spond to this al­le­ga­tion in his af­fi­davit.

In­stead, Zuma says in­jured miner Mzox­olo Magidi­wana, who rep­re­sents the 300 min­ers, is “naive” to ex­pect that he could re­lease the re­port so soon af­ter re­ceiv­ing it on March 31.

“Mr Magidi­wana ex­plains in the found­ing af­fi­davit that he can­not un­der­stand why I need three months to study the re­port when it took Judge [Ian] Far­lam four months to draft it. This is, with re­spect, a naive state­ment,” Zuma says.

“This is not a job done by me in iso­la­tion. I have a team of trusted and re­spon­si­ble of­fi­cials to as­sist me in this task,” he said.

“The re­port is, as the ap­pli­cants them­selves recog­nise, ex­tremely im­por­tant and has the po­ten­tial to im­pact upon not only the vic­tims, but in­deed the whole coun­try. It is im­per­a­tive that the process is not rushed.

“They would be vi­o­lated if I chose not to give the very im­por­tant re­port the full at­ten­tion that it de­serves. Un­for­tu­nately, that takes time.

“The fact that I have un­der­taken to re­lease the re­port, but not when they want it, is hardly a rea­son to war­rant their ap­pli­ca­tion get­ting ur­gent treat­ment.”

Two weeks ago, the mine work­ers’ lawyers, to­gether with the As­so­ci­a­tion of Minework­ers and Con­struc­tion Union, wrote to Zuma, giv­ing him a two-day dead­line to re­lease the re­port or face legal ac­tion.

One of the rea­sons the miner work­ers say they need the re­port ur­gently is be­cause their three-year win­dow pe­riod for civil claims comes to an end in Au­gust.

Zuma said they would have at least six weeks to launch their claims af­ter he re­leases his re­port on June 30.

The sec­ond re­spon­dent in the mat­ter, the Marikana Com­mis­sion of In­quiry, has not op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Two weeks ago, the So­cio-Eco­nomic Rights In­sti­tute of SA wrote to Judge Far­lam to re­mind him that he is not pro­hib­ited from re­leas­ing the re­port, even if the pres­i­dent fails to do so.

Magidi­wana told City Press yes­ter­day it was ex­tremely un­for­tu­nate Zuma didn’t be­lieve the mat­ter was ur­gent.

PHOTO: JACO MARAIS

NOT PRESS­ING Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma

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