National 17.8.2016 06:02 am

State notably absent from Marikana event

Union members gathered at Wonderkop in Marikana yesterday, four years after members of the
SA Police Service were instructed to open fire on striking mineworkers. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Union members gathered at Wonderkop in Marikana yesterday, four years after members of the SA Police Service were instructed to open fire on striking mineworkers. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Government claimed it hadn’t been invited, but organisers said it was an open commemoration where anyone could come to pay their respects.

Several opposition parties yesterday slammed government for not attending a commemoration event in honour of the 34 Marikana mineworkers who were shot dead by police four years ago.

Yesterday marked the fourth commemoration of the day 34 miners were killed by the SA Police Service when they opened fire on a crowd of striking miners at Marikana, outside Rustenburg, North West. Miners, largely members of the union Amcu, downed tools in a bid to get a R12 500 basic salary – a fight the union has not given up.

The event continues to elicit an international outcry as various political figures and thought leaders condemn the role of government, particularly the police, in the deaths of the miners. Many tweeted their dissent regarding the government’s reaction and the slow progress towards compensation for the affected families and the Marikana community.

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota said: “They will not come here because they have not yet told the people who exactly gave the command for those people to be shot and killed.”

Lekota stressed that the 2012 killings were a serious violation of the constitution.

“We need to set a precedent that will ensure that another Marikana does not occur again,” Lekota said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the DA would work with all opposition parties to ensure that the ANC was removed from office in the Bojanala district that administers Marikana.

“If you are poor and black, this government will never care about you,” Maimane said.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said government was still feeling guilty for the 2012 massacre.

“They will never come here and I am not surprised because their ally in the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was ousted by a new union in Amcu [Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union].

Former union federation Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi also believed government felt guilty.

“No government official was seen at the Amcu-organised event yesterday.”

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa took a swipe at rival labour federation Cosatu.

“Cosatu is no longer a key player but a minority in the sector,” Mathunjwa said. A trust fund was launched yesterday for the families of the slain miners. Amcu pledged R2 million and the EFF R1 million.

Meanwhile, the North West provincial government vowed to partner with other spheres of government to ensure that services were delivered to the people of the Marikana area.

“The Marikana Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal Committee has been established and it comprises of a broad segment of stakeholders in Marikana,” North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said yesterday.

“This committee seeks to draw all stakeholders in the area to work together for the attainment of long-lasting peace and stability. We are, however, still persuading Amcu to join the committee to ensure inclusivity of all stakeholders in Marikana.” He said North West had collaborated on a four-phase housing project.

– stevent@citizen.co.za

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