Miners target Lonmin, Coin for compensation
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.