South Africa’s Moment of Truth: A critique of the report of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry


The Paternoster Group has released a ground-breaking analysis of the report of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

Chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam, the commission was appointed to investigate ‘matters of public, national and international concern’ arising out of the events at Marikana in North West province in August 2012 during and after a wildcat strike by workers at Lonmin Platinum Mine which led to deaths of 44 people, the injury of 70, and the arrest of 250 more.

Among others, the commission probed the conduct of Lonmin, the SAPS, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the Department of Mineral Resources, and other government agencies.

After proceedings – including public hearings – which lasted for several years, the commission submitted its report to the government June 2015. The Paternoster analysis examines its findings and their implications for South African business and other role players. Ian Farmer, a Paternoster founding partner and co-author of the analysis, was CEO of Lonmin at the time of the tragedy. This has lent added interest to the Paternoster analysis.

The Paternoster founding partners have commented as follows on the analysis:

Richard Calland:
‘After so much time, effort and money had been invested in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, I was astonished at how little attention its findings received when it was published in June, and just how easily key actors moved on, apparently without digesting the report’s findings. We want to fill this gap, and prompt some serious thinking about the implications of the events at Marikana, in the light of the commissions report.


Ian Farmer:
‘There is far more to the Farlam report than meets the eye. Working on this critique of the report and the implications of Marikana was challenging, as the tragedy was a painful moment in my life. But it also gave me a much-needed opportunity to reflect – with the perspective provided by distance and the passing of a few years — on what happened, and why. My hope is that other business leaders who now occupy the hot seats will take the opportunity to reflect, thus helping them to prevent a repeat of Marikana.


Lawson Naidoo:
‘Corporate leaders need to see beyond the Farlam report. Rather than using the official inquiry’s diffidence as an excuse for inaction, they should look anticipate future challenges, and proactively recalibrate their government relations and social stakeholder engagement strategies.’