CAPE TOWN – Government has been served with summonses of claims of over R1.1-billion in compensation from the victims of the Marikana massacre, which claimed the lives of 34 people on April 16, 2012, and ten others in the preceding week, it emerged in Parliament on Tuesday.
Briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on police, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, police top brass, as well as senior representatives of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) were asked to give MPs an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry which probed the largest lost of life in a single police operation in democratic South Africa.
Brigadier Nashee Sewpersada, an acting deputy director-general in Nhleko’s office, said the litigation claims totalled R1,170,946,235 arising from the Marikana incident.
Summonses served with regard to compensation received indicated that 325 families of miners suing for loss of support following the killing of their breadwinners are claiming R179,286-million. Thirty six of those injured as a result of police shooting them are claiming R100.9-million. A total of 285 people claiming they were assaulted arrested, detained and maliciously prosecuted want R870.9-million. A further six people accusing police of assaulting, arresting and detaining them are claiming R19.8-million.
According to the document presented by Sewpersada, the “offers of settlement” by the State arising from loss of support due to their relatives being killed was “accepted in principle”, however legal representatives still had to discuss the terms of the settlement with their clients.
“For those families that suffered emotional trauma due to loss of their family member, the State offered to pay for evaluation by psychologists. Most of these family members have already undergone treatment. On receipt of the reports, the state agreed to add emotional shock and trauma…,” Sewpersada’s presentation said.
Supporting documents for the dependents of miners killed was sent to actuaries. The reports are still outstanding.
Offers were also being prepared for those claims arising from unlawful arrest, detention and assault. “We await proof of detention from attorneys to compare cell registers.”
The State has also accepted that claimants’ attorneys could appoint medical experts and the state will cover the costs.
In addition to the civil claims, police claim they are working hard to implement the recommendations of the Farlam commission’s report.
Nhlako later said that the R1.1-billion was based on claims received, rejecting a question from Democratic Alliance MP Zakhele Mbhele asking the minister to quantify the cost of the Marikana catastrophe.
“I don’t think there’s a quantifiable cost of tragedy, of loss itself. I don’t think there’s a figure in the world that exists to quantify what happened in Marikana,” Nhleko said.