Min­ers tar­get Lon­min, Coin for com­pen­sa­tion

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

The lawyers of mine work­ers wounded and ar­rested dur­ing the Marikana mas­sacre are claim­ing not only R1 bil­lion in dam­ages from the state, but also more mil­lions from min­ing com­pany Lon­min and Protea Coin Se­cu­rity.

Pa­pers filed on Fri­day by Nkome At­tor­neys for the 274 mine work­ers who were wounded and ar­rested in the lead-up to and af­ter the Au­gust 16 2012 mas­sacre say they are seek­ing an ad­di­tional R4.5 mil­lion from Lon­min and Protea Coin Se­cu­rity, the com­pany Lon­min hired to beef up se­cu­rity.

“We have brought in Lon­min and Protea Coin Se­cu­rity be­cause peo­ple were as­saulted and badly in­jured by the se­cu­rity con­tracted by Lon­min,” said at­tor­ney An­dries Nkome.

The claim against Lon­min was filed with the mine work­ers’ class ac­tion against Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko and the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity.

In court pa­pers, the min­ers say Zuma should have pro­tected their con­sti­tu­tional rights, in­clud­ing their rights to life and hu­man dig­nity. They also say Zuma should have re­frained from “launch­ing a pre­ma­ture op­er­a­tion ... des­tined to re­sult in loss of life”.

The mine work­ers say Zuma should have in­ter­vened with po­lice and per­suaded Lon­min to en­gage and ne­go­ti­ate with strik­ers.

The R1 bil­lion to­tal is bro­ken down into three dif­fer­ent claims.

The first is based on the sever­ity of the emo­tional and phys­i­cal scar­ring the mine work­ers in­curred. Each of the 274 min­ers is ask­ing for R1.5 mil­lion for past and fu­ture med­i­cal ex­penses, past loss of earn­ing ca­pac­ity and gen­eral dam­ages.

Min­ers tar­get Lon­min and Coin

The sec­ond claim, worth R1 mil­lion per claimant, re­lates to the un­law­ful ar­rest and de­ten­tion of the min­ers af­ter Au­gust 16 2012.

The third, for R500 000 each, is for ma­li­cious pros­e­cu­tion – they were charged with the mur­ders of their 34 col­leagues, as well as public vi­o­lence and breach­ing the dan­ger­ous weapons and gath­er­ings acts.

Nkome told City Press the amount of R3 mil­lion per miner was only an av­er­age. The youngest mine worker to sur­vive the mas­sacre, Mzox­olo Magidi­wana, is claim­ing R7 mil­lion from the state.

He was shot nu­mer­ous times with an au­to­matic R5 ri­fle, leav­ing him with a rup­tured small bowel, as well as a frac­tured leg, hip and wrist. He uses a walk­ing stick and has not re­turned to work since the in­ci­dent, which left him in a coma for two weeks.

His claim in­cludes his med­i­cal bills, as he was ad­mit­ted to Lon­min’s An­drew Saffy Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Won­derkop and then trans­ferred to Sun­ninghill Hos­pi­tal. He stayed in in­ten­sive care un­til early Novem­ber.

“As a re­sult of the as­sault and the ar­rest, the plain­tiff has suf­fered, and will suf­fer, dam­ages in the amount of R5.5 mil­lion, made up of past med­i­cal ex­penses, past and fu­ture loss of earn­ings and gen­eral dam­ages,” reads Magidi­wana’s claim.

Nkome did warn that if the state, Lon­min and Protea Coin Se­cu­rity used de­lay­ing tac­tics and dragged the case out, the de­fen­dants could be paid more than R1 bil­lion.

“We are very con­fi­dent we can win these cases be­cause the par­ties have al­ready made con­ces­sions at the [Far­lam] com­mis­sion [of in­quiry] and there is video footage prov­ing our case,” said Nkome.

“Pres­i­dent [Zuma] took his time re­leas­ing the re­port and [Ad­vo­cate] Dali Mpofu and the team were left with only two months to com­pile close to 300 sum­mons for law­suits.”

Nkome said none of the re­spond­ing par­ties had filed re­spond­ing pa­pers.

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