Home South African Marikana massacre: Miners and Ramaphosa to face off in court

Marikana massacre: Miners and Ramaphosa to face off in court

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The matter was postponed last year when it emerged that then presiding officer, Judge Colin Lamont, held shares worth about R225,000 in Sibanye-Stillwater, which he had bought at Sibanye, formerly known as Lonmin plc.

Members of the mining community walk near crosses placed at a hill known as the ‘Hill of Horror’, where 34 miners died in clashes with police during a strike at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg. File picture

THE CASE against President Cyril Ramaphosa and Sibanye-Stillwater Mines regarding the Marikana massacre and the “concomitant action” e-mails will be heard in the South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

The matter was postponed last year when it emerged that then presiding officer, Judge Colin Lamont, held shares worth about R225,000 in Sibanye-Stillwater which he had bought at Sibanye, formerly known as Lonmin plc.

The 328 workers represented by advocate Dali Mpofu successfully brought an application requesting Lamont’s removal from the case due to a conflict of interest.

At the time, Mpofu argued before Judge Lamont that there was a thin line between Lamont and Ramaphosa because he also disposed of his shares after the massacre.

Two days before the first hearing, Lamont had disclosed he had shares in the lawsuit respondent into the R1 billion suit against Sibanye-Stillwater and Ramaphosa.

In his ruling, Judge Lamont stated that he believed he was impartial and did not believe he would have acted in a biased manner against the plaintiffs, who include current and former Lonmin miners injured and arrested during and after the massacre.

However, he conceded that from the plaintiffs’ perspective, he was seen as a person who might not act impartially.

He said: “The test is not whether I am biased, but whether I am seen to be biased. As the plaintiffs, on reasonable grounds, see me as a person who might not be impartial, I am bound to recuse myself.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Supplied

Ramaphosa is being sued in his personal capacity and as a director of Lonmin at the time of the massacre of more than 34 workers at Marikana in August 2012.

Ramaphosa previously held shares in Lonmin through Incwala Resources, which was controlled by his company Shanduka Group.

The miners have accused Ramaphosa of actively inciting violence, exerting pressure, and characterising their strike as unlawful, which led to the use of force by police with fatal consequences when he sent an email demanding “concomitant action” against them.

Ramaphosa is also blamed for putting pressure on politicians who controlled the means of violence, such as the army and the police, so that “concomitant action” could be politically sanctioned.

”The first defendant (Ramaphosa) had sought to exert pressure on politicians and ministers of state to take violent action,” the miners state in their particulars of claim.

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