Jenni Evans, News24
Dali Mpofu (Leon Sadiki, City Press)
Mpofu began by rejecting President Jacob Zuma‘s submission that the court did not have the jurisdiction to release retired Judge Ian Farlam‘s report into the August 2012 shootings, and that it was not urgent.
Many in the public gallery wore white overalls bearing the logo of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) sewn onto them and held posters that read: “Release the Marikana Report Now.”
Judge Neil Tuchten had to pause while even more people filed in and were allowed to sit in front seats usually reserved for lawyers.
There was also a small group of Economic Freedom Fighters members. Mpofu is the EFF chairperson.
Mpofu said that if it was a report about satellites in outer space he would not care, but when it came to the dignity of the mineworkers and their families, the decision to not release it was “irrational”.
Former president Nelson Mandela had released the enormous Truth and Reconciliation Report to the public at the same time as he received it, because he appreciated its importance, said Mpofu, so why could Zuma not do the same.
The president has also revealed that it was not just he who has to read the report, based on 40,000 pages of transcriptions. He has a team of trusted officials reading this document, which was reportedly 600 pages long.
Mpofu said when Zuma attended a meeting of the SA Development Community, he abandoned the meeting and within 24 hours announced that there would be an inquiry into the August 2012 shooting, which was “good work”.
At the time Zuma said the commission “must move very quickly”.
He received the final report on March 31.
”Now how can all of a sudden now… the very same president… say it must now take three months just to ponder over the implications?
“Whatever the political implications of this report are, they are not going to go away. They are there.”
‘Why must he keep it a secret?’
The application is by mineworkers who were wounded and arrested in clashes with police in August 2012 during a protracted pay strike for a minimum salary of R12 500 a month.
On August 12, 34 miners were killed. An inquiry set up by Zuma and chaired by Judge Farlam also investigated the deaths of 10 people, including two security guards and two police officers, the preceding week.
“Why must he keep it a secret? Why can’t he consider the demilitarisation of the police while he releases the report?” said Mpofu.
“Nobody has explained why all these big things must be done when the victims are in the dark.
“Part of it is for survivors to say to their children that their fathers were killed by the police in self-defence, or they were just killed by the police.”
‘A continuing wrong’
Mpofu said that Zuma had said he needed time to come to terms with the report on the events, which had stirred up emotions.
The applicants said that their anxiety and yearning for dignity and the right to know was being violated every day.
“It’s what in normal civil law we call a ‘continuing wrong’.
“We have waited for this report, we know that it was given on the 31st of March. It would have been great if it was released at the same time,” he said.
Mpofu said that while the applicants understood that Zuma had to study the report, they now wanted to see it.
In terms of the Constitution, they were entitled to see the report now, and were also entitled to bring it to the High Court in Pretoria, and not first the Constitutional Court, as the president had submitted.
The application continues.