The commission of inquiry into the Marikana tragedy is likely to cost the government more than R70 million over the next four months.
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced yesterday that the commission would start public hearings on October 1.
The commission, to be chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam, was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to investigate the respective roles of all those involved in the conflict in which 34 people were gunned down by police near Lonmin’s Marikana mine.
Radebe said they did not expect any resistance from the miners or community in Marikana. The commission was lawfully established and had legal powers to search premises, summons witnesses and compel the disclosure of information.
Asked whether the presence of the army in Marikana would not hinder the smooth and voluntary participation of the community, Radebe said this would not be the case.
“The reason the defence force is there is to protect our people and property in the area, in support of the police, so there should not be any hindrance there,” he said.
Director-general in the department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Nonkululeko Sindane, said the department would fund the start-up costs of the commission to the tune of about R24m, while additional funding of R44m and R50m would be sought from the Treasury.
According to Radebe, the evidence leaders were expected to work closely with private investigators “with the necessary skills and expertise necessary for the execution of the mandate of the commission”.
He said: “We will be guided by the commission regarding persons it may wish to appoint as investigators, and discussions in this regard are at an advanced stage.
“It is anticipated that the researchers will commence with their investigative work in this coming week.
“The commissioners have commenced with their work and have had a few meetings, including the meeting with parties.”
The advocates assisting the retired judge in the matter are Mbuyiseli Madlanga SC, Mathew Chaskalson SC, Geoff Budlender SC, Johannes Nxusana and Charles Wessley.
Pretoria News Weekend