Amcu blasts Zuma over Marikana plan

Trade Union  Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa.  Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Trade Union Amcu President Joseph Mathunjwa. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Mathunjwa said the commission failed to find the real perpetrators of Marikana killings.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa on Tuesday blasted President Jacob Zuma for announcing the implementation of Farlam Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations without consulting affected families and Lonmin mineworkers.

Mathunjwa said in announcing government’s implementation plan, Zuma and his office never consulted relevant stakeholders on Marikana.

“It is disappointing that the president continuously releasing statements without consulting relevant parties, especially on compensation, which we are not clear on what exactly is he proposing,” Mathunjwa told reporters at a briefing in Johannesburg.

“This is failing the affected families. The president should have consulted all parties through his office and put forward his proposal, allow everyone to sleep over that and then come back to him with their input, but that did not happen.”

The Amcu president claimed that the government was undermining black workers.

“They still have a tendency of deciding for people without consulting with them. Amcu is a majority union at Lonmin. It has all the structures from the branch to regions, and they were never consulted. It is that historical mentality about a bunch of black workers, where you just give them what you think is good for them,” said Mathunjwa.

“It is the fourth time that the state just decides to release a statement without consulting parties involved. We do not even know what is the quantum that the president is proposing. So should we take all this seriously if he has not consulted relevant stakeholders? I don’t know.”

The Presidency announced on Sunday that government was ready to pay compensation for the victims of the August 2012 violence at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana in North West.

The South African Police Service has instructed its attorneys to make offers of payments in full settlement of claims where quantification were complete and are not under criminal investigation, the Presidency said.

Furthermore, warning statements had been obtained from senior members of the police who were involved in the operation at Marikana during the wildcat strike. A few high ranking officers had been charged and some were under investigation.

Mathunjwa said the commission failed to find the real perpetrators of Marikana killings and that former national commissioner Riah Phiyega did not take a decision alone to open fire on the striking workers.

“I do not think that Phiyega can take such a decision and order police to massacre workers, and surely even Nathi himself [former Police Minister Mthethwa] cannot take such a decision. No one or any department can give that order, it is something that was well thought. It shouldn’t be commissioners and brigadiers taking the fall,” he said.

He rubbished government’s threat to revoke Lonmin’s mining licence for its failure to improve workers’ living conditions as a “kneejerk approach”.

“Before the Marikana massacre who was the minerals minister? Why did they leave Lonmin unattended in terms of compliance and social plan? That to me is politicking when government says it will revoke Lonmin licence for noncompliance.

“How many other mining companies are not complying up to today? Where is an audit that shows that, for example, the gold sector has complied with its social labour plan?” asked Mathunjwa.

The Farlam commission failed to hold Lonmin to account.

“Falarm recommendations fails to hold Lonmin to account, whereas Lonmin was the one giving the state information on all logistics in Marikana in order to realise their plan of killing workers … why is Lonmin not held accountable?”

The Farlam Commission – chaired by retired Judge Ian Farlam – was appointed on August 26, 2012, to probe the deaths of 44 people during an illegal, violent strike at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine earlier that month.

On August 16, 34 people, mostly mineworkers, were shot dead by police. In the preceding week, another 10 people were killed, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards.

The commission’s report and recommendations, which included an inquiry into Phiyega’s fitness to hold office, were released to the public in June 2015.

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