15/03/2017 20:12 SAST | Updated 15/03/2017 20:12 SAST

Government And Marikana Victims' Families Discuss R1.1bn Settlement Offer For 652 Claims

'We are waiting for the formal acceptance of offers so that we can pay.' The death claims average at R550,000 each.

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Demonstrators demand victim compensation and improved worker living conditions for Marikana miners, outside Lonmin's annual general meeting in London, Britain, on January 26, 2017.

Government has offered the families and victims of the Marikana massacre just over R1.1 billion in compensation, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

The police committee was briefed on the progress of the implementation of the Farlam Commission's recommendations by Minister Nathi Nhleko and his team. The massacre of striking miners by police was in August 2012.

Nashee Sewperdsadh, of the South African Police Service (SAPS), said in principle, the state's offers were accepted.

"The plaintiffs' representatives indicated they will discuss the terms of the settlement of these offers with the families before they are finally accepted. We are waiting for the formal acceptance of offers so that we can pay."

Nhleko said, while the victims and their families had been offered R1.1 billion, no amount of money could "quantify" what happened at Marikana.

"We should instead be firm in our resolve that this never happens again and we should derive definite lessons from it," he said.

Experts' costs

The state has also agreed to pay for evaluation by psychologists for those families that suffered emotional trauma due to the loss of a family member.

It also conceded that the plaintiffs' attorneys could appoint medical experts for personal injury claims. The state would cover the costs of the medical experts.

Asked by FF Plus MP Pieter Groenewald if this would not be setting a dangerous precedent, Nhleko said it wouldn't, but would instead "help determine the nature and extent of injuries".

The SAPS said 652 claims had been made, which amounted to R1.17 billion.

They included:

  • Six claims for injuries sustained as a result of police assault or arrest, valued at R19.8 million;
  • R100 million for 36 claims for injuries as a result of shootings;
  • There were 285 claims for wrongful assault, arrest, detention and malicious prosecution, valued at R870 million;
  • And 325 claims for loss of support as a result of the death of a loved one, valued at R179 million.

Nhleko was in the same room in Parliament with IPID head Robert McBride for the first time since 2016, when the minister said their relationship had "irretrievably broken down".

Commenting on the lack of charges brought against police officers involved in the shootings, McBride hinted that IPID should have been more involved.

"The police cannot investigate themselves," he said.