Marikana judgement welcomed

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed a ruling by the high court in the Sivuka vs Ramaphosa civil matter which relates to the events of at Lonmin Mine at Marikana in the North West where striking miners tragically lost their lives.

The matter was brought to the high court by family members of those miners and sought to have President Ramaphosa – who was part of the Lonmin Mine board at the time – bare legal duty for the events that transpired on that day.

The High Court in Johannesburg handed down judgement on the matter last week.

In a statement, the Presidency clarified pertinent matters in that judgement.

“First, the high court agreed with the President’s arguments and held that the plaintiffs had not established that the President bore any legal duty in relation to the Marikana tragedy. Furthermore, the court made no finding that the President was in fact the cause of harmful conduct.

“Second, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that certain email communications from President Ramaphosa sought to call for the murder of the striking workers. The judgement stated that the plaintiffs’ argument against the President ‘is not only far-fetched but also irreconcilable within the context of the email communication contents as a whole…,” the Presidency said.

Furthermore, the Presidency said the court proceedings were “not a trial and…the court was merely engaged in a legal debate regarding the plaintiffs’ allegations” against President Ramaphosa.

“[The] high court agreed with the President that there was no factual basis pleaded for the allegation that collusion between the President, the government and the senior police would have led to deaths of workers.

“[On] the allegations that the President Ramaphosa owed a duty of care to the plaintiffs due to his role as director of Lonmin, the high court agreed with the President that the allegation was incorrect as a matter of law. In the judgment the court said, “… The allegations pleaded do not show that the first defendant owed the plaintiffs legal duties, and he therefore cannot in law incur liability to the plaintiffs in delict in his capacity as director of Lonmin, or ‘in pursuit of his personal interests and those of Lonmin’,” the Presidency said.

The Presidency said the events of the tragic day remain a sorrow for the country.

“The tragic events of August 2012 in Marikana that led to the death of 34 people remain one of the most distressing moments of the post democratic era and a blight in South Africa’s contemporary history that will be forever etched in our hearts and minds.

“10 years later our hearts still go out to families who lost their loved ones. The violence and the killings that occurred should have never happened. We are still resolute and united in our condemnation of the brutal acts we witnessed,” the Presidency said. –