The latest attempt to get President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit the community of Marikana has failed. The attempt came via a commitment by trade union federation Cosatu three months ago.
Cosatu and its affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), will convene a rally in the small mining area on Sunday, in the Marikana West community hall.
The federation will attend the rally alongside all its affiliated unions and representatives of alliance partners in the ANC, SA Communist Party (SACP) and SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco).
Three months ago, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the federation union committed to ensuring that Ramaphosa would get to visit the North West informal settlement and surrounding communities. She added that talks were at an advanced stage.
Cosatu’s deputy secretary-general Solly Phetoe said Ramaphosa had indicated he would attend the rally, “however there were delays with finalising the date and venue”.
“The president is still committed that he will have to make time to visit Marikana. This is the beginning of the engagement with the Marikana community,” he said.
While on the campaign trail in the Eastern Cape in 2017, Ramaphosa indicated his desire to visit the mining town where 34 people died in unrest following a mining strike.
Speaking to Rhodes University students during the rally, the then-deputy president apologised for the manner in which the Marikana massacre unfolded, saying he was sorry for the type of language he had used at the time.
Ramaphosa told students he had intervened in the Lonmin mine strike in Marikana to prevent further deaths.
On the eve of the Marikana massacre, Ramaphosa allegedly said in an email discussion between Lonmin management and government officials that events around the strike “are plainly dastardly criminal acts and must be characterised as such”.
Ramaphosa was responding in a question and answer session where one student asked him to address the Marikana massacre.
“You say you want to appeal to my conscience,” Ramaphosa said at the time. “My conscience is that I participated in trying to stop further deaths from happening.”