South Africa may set up a panel to process civil claims that have been filed against the government by the families of miners killed during a violent 2012 wildcat strike at a mine run by platinum producer Lonmin, the presidency said.
“A judge, assisted by experts, will be asked to lead this process in order to reinforce its independence,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.
“Government will engage with the legal representatives of claimants, and encourage them to use this process. To the extent that some do not lend their co-operation, or it is not possible to resolve claims through mediation, government will seek to do so through the court process,” Zuma said.
Families of 37 of the South African miners killed during the strike at the Marikana mine filed civil claims against the government in August.
In all, 44 people were killed in violence triggered by the stoppage, including 34 strikers gunned down by police in what became known as the “Marikana Massacre,” the worst security incident since the end of apartheid over two decades ago.
A long-awaited investigation into the slayings, released in June by Zuma, blamed Lonmin, the police and unions for the “horrendous tragedy”.
Last week Zuma’s office said it had launched a probe that would look into whether the country’s first female police boss Riah Phiyega and other senior officers had concealed information on decisions they took while handling the Marikana labour unrest.