Pretoria: The Marikana Commission of Inquiry, set up to probe the tragic events at Lonmin Platinum mine in the North West, will be open to the public, according to a statement issued by the commission on Friday.
The Commission of Inquiry will commence on 1 October 2012 at Auditorium A, Civic Centre, Rustenburg.
“The Inquiry shall be open to the members of the public except when the chairperson rules that part of the proceedings must be held in camera in the interest of justice…arrangements will be made for viewing facilities adjacent to Auditorium 1 and the Marikana Community Hall to the extent that this is possible and practical,” said the commission.
It added that space was limited in the auditorium and that seats would be allocated on a first come first served basis. However, members of the family and the next of kin of the deceased persons who died as a result of the incident will get preference in the allocation of seats.
“All people who attend the Inquiry or enter premises of the Commission may be subject to body search and other security measures to ensure a safe and secure environment for the Commission. Any person who refuses to be subjected himself or herself thereto or who fails to meet the security requirements will be denied access to the Inquiry and its premises,” it added.
The formal sittings of the commission will commence on 3 October.
President Jacob Zuma announced the commission, headed by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Ian Farlam, to probe the underlying causes of what is probably considered to be South Africa’s most tragic event post 1994.
Thirty-four people were killed in clashes with the police at the mining town of Marikana near Rustenburg. Prior to this, 10 other people – including two police officers – were killed in nearly a week of fighting between rival worker factions.
The commission has been tasked with looking into the conduct of mining company Lonmin, the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). It will have powers to subpoena any witness and conduct search and seizures if necessary. Commissioners have been given four months to complete their work.