The failure of the African National Congress (ANC) to obtain an outright majority at the Rustenburg Local Municipality polls paves the way for rebuilding the Marikana community, where 34 mineworkers were shot and killed during a labour dispute four years ago, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.
Ten other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the week before police shot and killed 34 striking mineworkers.
The strikers had been demanding a minimum wage of R12 500 a month, but their employer deemed their strike illegal and said the mine could not afford their wage hike demands, which led to a deadly impasse.
“It is thus no surprise that on August 3, 2016, the people of Marikana took to the ballot box and shattered the ANC’s majority in the Rustenburg Local Municipality,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
“The rejection of ANC arrogance is only the beginning of rebuilding the community of Marikana, where four years ago an uncaring government sanctioned the use of state machinery to mitigate the fight taken up by workers for a fairer life.
“Political parties who place their own interests and profits ahead of the needs of the people should be voted out, so that the process of change, justice and healing can take place.”
The ANC won 43 Rustenburg council seats with 48.55% of votes, failing to score an outright win to govern.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) won 24 seats with 26.76% of votes, followed by the DA with 16 percent of votes and secured 14 council seats. The DA lost its status as official opposition in Rustenburg.
The Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD), an umbrella for independent councillors, won four seats, the African Independent Congress (AIC), Freedom Front Plus, United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Botho Community Movement (BCM) each won a seat.
The ANC would need two seats through a coalition to take over the municipality.
Tuesday marks the fourth anniversary of Marikana shootings, with mineworkers continuing to fight for a R12 500 minimum wage and also for August 16 to be declared a public holiday in South Africa.
After the tragedy, Marikana became a burning political issue, with opposition parties blaming the ruling ANC for the worst single act of police brutality since SA became a democracy in 1994.
The Marikana commemorations are organised and led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), a rival of the National Union of Mineworkers, a Cosatu affiliate. Cosatu is part of the Tripartite Alliance, along with the ANC and the SA Communist Party.
– African News Agency (ANA)