The justice department has no right to interfere in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, the commission was told.
“It is unfortunate and inappropriate as they are not parties in the commission,” said Dali Mpofu today, for miners arrested and wounded during the unrest at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana last year.
He has applied to have the commission postponed until he can secure funding for himself and his legal team.
Two parties involved in the commission and the justice department have opposed his application.
The commission, chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is investigating the killing of 44 people during strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s Marikana operations near Rustenburg in North West.
Police shot dead 34 people – almost all striking mine workers – as they attempted to disperse them on August 16 2012.
Ten other people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.
The commission was appointed by President Jacob Zuma shortly after the unrest.
Mpofu argued on Friday that Zuma was the only external force that could have an input in the commission.
“The president can take advice from his ministers but that does not mean the minister can directly interfere in the commission,” he said.
“This affects the independence of the commission. It is inappropriate and ill-advised.”
Mpofu has provisionally withdrawn from the commission as he continues to seek funding.
The commission’s evidence leaders have been representing his clients.
Mpofu today took a swipe at the evidence leaders, saying they were on the justice department payroll.
Evidence leaders head Geoff Budlender rejected Mpofu’s claims.
The hearings continue.
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