The killings at Marikana in 2012 remain a horrific event in our post-Apartheid history, marking the failure of our society to address inequality, workers' living conditions, corporate accountability, labour and union relations, lack of capacity in public order policing, and, worst of all, actions by police authorities which aggravated the violence of the situation.
Students at the University of Cape Town are right to remind us all of these failures and to force us to examine how all of us are linked to the Marikana tragedy – whether as shareholders in Lonmin and other mining companies, as voters who fail to hold government accountable for the actions of our police, or as citizens insufficiently engaged with addressing inequality in our daily lives and employment practices.
We applaud the UCT students and staff who, through marches, assemblies and protests on campus this week, are holding a mirror up to us to ensure we do not forget Marikana and that it is an ongoing festering sore. It is right for this younger generation to be demanding responses to these questions. We do not, however, condone graffiti vandalism, and the campaign is weakened by false claims which are only intended to inflame.
In that regard, we need to present the facts regarding allegations that have been made against Judge Ian Farlam, viz. that he had a conflict of interest with respect to Lonmin because as a UCT Council member, he would have been accountable for UCT's investments in Lonmin.
It is important to understand the three types of investment funds related to UCT.
Judge Farlam, as a member of Council and of the audit committee, does not have any oversight or knowledge of any UCT linked funds that are invested in Lonmin. He therefore could not face any conflict of interest with regards to investments made by the university. Judge Farlam remains a valued and respected member of Council.
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