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Legal Aid SA will not fund miners

Oct 30 2012 17:32 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Legal Aid SA said on Tuesday it will not help the miners who were injured or arrested during the shooting in Marikana.

It would however continue to provide support to the families of the 34 miners killed on August 16, but not to the 78 people who were wounded in the shooting, or the 275 who were arrested.

"We still hold the view that we cannot go beyond making an exception for the families of the deceased miners," it said in a statement.

"Our policy on provision of legal aid is contained in the Legal Aid Guide... [which] does not make provision for Legal Aid SA to make available legal representation at commissions of inquiry, nor are we funded to do so by the department of justice."

Legal Aid SA said it made an exception for the families, as they had lost their breadwinners.

Retired judge Ian Farlam, who chairs the judicial commission of inquiry into the Marikana shooting, previously said both the families and the miners deserved to have representation at the inquiry.

The organisation said it provided R1.2m to pay the legal team acting on behalf of 23 families.

"Legal Aid SA operates within a very limited budget... nevertheless, a decision was taken to fund the bereaved families as they represent a vulnerable group in society, and which funding could be accommodated within the constraints of our limited budget."

The organisation said miners would be represented by the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union at the inquiry.

"Legal Aid SA may also be able to assist affected miners and families in criminal and civil matters following the inquiry," it said.

On August 16, police shot dead 34 miners and wounded 78 when trying to disperse strikers near the Lonmin mine.

The commission resumed public hearings on the matter in Rustenburg on Monday.
legal aid sa  |  marikana
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