Solicitor General Fhedzisani Pandelani revealed on Thursday that the State has used over R330-million in taxpayer money to deal with claims relating to the Marikana massacre lodged against government departments.
On Wednesday the country marked 11 years since the incident in which members of the South African Police Services (Saps) shot and killed 34 striking Lonmin miners.
Pandelani said the Marikana massacre was painful and remained a significant and solemn chapter in South Africa’s history.
"It is something we cannot downplay because people are still impacted emotionally and it casts a sombre shadow over the tragic clash between the striking miners and law enforcement, resulting in multiple fatalities, as a result of which we as government lawyers ceased having to meet the lawful demands that have been lodged with us," said Phandelani.
He explained that the government was dealing with the death of the 34 miners plus another 10 miners that were never accounted for. No claims have been lodged against government for the 10 miners.
"On the other 10, there was no causation of the death itself that was attributable to the government or the State. Their settlements might have been settled by other individuals,” Pandelani explained.
Claims were lodged by the Wits Law Clinic; the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI); Maluleke, Msimang & Associates; Tlhatlha Attorneys; and Nkome Attorneys.
Breaking down the claims, Pandelani said the Wits Law Clinic matter was finalised in 2021 and was paid out R3 995 121 plus costs.
SERI, on behalf of the miners’ families, secured settlements for loss of support amounting to R71 230 491.
Notably, SERI had introduced the novel concept of constitutional damages, which Pandelani said was a new concept which raised issues such as emotional damages.
Maluleke, Msimang & Associates, which represented 15 claimants, was paid out R77 034 643,70 in total.
Pandelani said the progress of payments to Tlhatlha Attorneys, which handled matters relating to assault and gunshots, was underway with certain claims still undergoing verification.
Nkome Attorneys, which claimed for plaintiffs that were arrested and detained, received an amount of R102 305 000, which Pandelani said was an amount for 10 of the 12 cases lodged with the State.