Police on scene following the shootout at Marikana mine in 2012. Picture: REUTERS
Police on scene following the shootout at Marikana mine in 2012. Picture: REUTERS

A lawyer representing wounded and arrested Marikana mine workers has not been formally approached by the government about a compensation offer, despite the state saying last week it had set aside R1.17bn for such a process.

Attorney Andries Nkome said on Sunday it was unfortunate that each time they had learnt about the government’s intentions regarding compensation, it was through the media.

"This goes towards our clients’ view that the government is just treating them with disdain and contempt," Nkome told Business Day.

Representatives for the affected mine workers were still quantifying the amount owed to victims, he said.

Nkome said that, according to their estimates, the amount needed to help those who sustained injuries during the deadly 2012 strike was higher than initially predicted.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko told Parliament last week that the R1.17bn set aside for compensation would be given to a "certain number of individuals [for] loss of support, injuries and, of course, fatalities".

The amount will cover 652 claims made by families who lost relatives, miners who were injured and those who were unlawfully arrested after police broke up the unprotected strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.

Nhleko’s spokesman, Sandile Ngidi, said on Sunday they had made an offer across the board to all the victims and the government was trying to settle with victims who were represented by different lawyers.

Ngidi said the government was committed to expediting the process.

In December, the Presidency announced that the government was ready to compensate families of the Marikana victims. President Jacob Zuma said in the statement that the 275 unlawful arrests and detention claims had been quantified and were ready for settlement.

Zuma established a commission of inquiry chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam after the Marikana massacre. The commission recommended an inquiry into suspended police commissioner Gen Riah Phiyega’s fitness to hold office.

The Claassen Board of Inquiry has recommended that Phiyega be fired, but she has asked the High Court in Pretoria to review and set aside the findings against her.

Critics have said Phiyega was used as a scapegoat while political leaders were let off the hook for the handling of the unprotected strike.

Phiyega said the inquiry led by Judge Neels Claassen exceeded its mandate and had made irrational findings.

The developments around compensation come as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) made a presentation to Parliament last week about which officers should be charged over what happened in Marikana.

Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said the probe would be handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority towards the end of April.

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