Heatwave melts Marikana Commission

2012-11-21 15:44
Lucas Ledwaba in Rustenburg
A dysfunctional air-conditioning system and mother nature’s unforgiving wrath have colluded in forcing retired judge Ian Farlam to propose an early adjournment in the day’s proceedings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

The auditorium at the Rustenburg Civic Centre, where the inquiry is being held, has been transformed into a swelteringly hot furnace as a result of a malfunctioning air-conditioning system.

A searing heatwave, which has seen midday temperatures in this bushveld town soar to 37 degrees Celcius, has not helped either.

People seated in the public gallery were forced to fan themselves with anything they could lay their hands on: accreditation tags, newspapers, water bottles and hats.

The legal eagles seated up on the stage were not spared either, with the rising temperatures forcing a bending of the rules regarding them wearing jackets.

The lawyers and evidence leaders, who at least have the luxury of bottled water on their tables, hung their jackets behind their chairs and a few could also be seen fanning themselves with accreditation tags.

But as the morning dragged on and the temperatures continued to rise, some in the public gallery could take it no more, dozing off during proceedings.

Farlam announced that workmen had been brought in to work on the air conditioning at lunch time.

Workmen brought in a monster of an air conditioning machine which was set up at an exit door.

The machine was set up and switched on, which seemed to bring some relief.

But Farlam had already suggested on resumption of proceedings after lunch, that the commission adjourn after the flighting of a one-hour long video which captured events of August 16.

The commission has been shown videos taken from CCTV footage from Lonmin offices, another from a Coin Security helicopter and some from police videos and cellphones.