North West premier Supra Mahumapelo intends to meet Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa over reconciliation and healing in Marikana near Rustenburg.
“I am going to be arranging a meeting with Mr Mathunjwa separately, and the meeting with the NUM [National Union of Mineworkers] leader separately, and Lonmin [Platinum] separately to discussed with them how can we bring about reconciliation, healing, and renewal in Marikana, because the sooner we embark on development to deal with issues of service delivery – the housing, road, electricity, health service, education, recreational facilities – the better for our people,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the funeral service for Paul Motshabi in Tshing, Ventersdorp on Sunday.
Mahumapelo said Marikana should serve as a lesson for things not to be repeated in South Africa. Marikana made international headlines on August 16, 2012 when 34 mostly miners were shot dead by police in a clash during a violent wildcat strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine. In the preceding week, 10 other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security officers, were killed.The workers refused to be represented by the NUM and turned to Amcu.
There has been tension in Marikana since August 2012, but efforts to bring peace and stability have seemingly moved at a snail’s pace. Tensions were so high, that Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane and ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma were both prevented last month from laying wreaths at the hill near Nkaneng informal settlement where the mineworkers died. Amcu members have been protective of the hill, regarding it as a sacred place.
On Saturday religious leaders under the banner of the Wonderkop Pastoral Fraternal held a peace prayer day in an attempt to pave the way for stability and peace in Marikana. Chairman Gcina Honono said the church was best placed to bring peace in the area.
“If you visit any church you will notice that most of us, we are engaged in the process of healing of wounds that have not healed for a long time and it is not a new thing for the church. Yes, in this Marikana area is an urgent matter that must be attended to. We have tried to do our role but we feel that the time is now to aggressively speak to our people and say now is the time for this community to march forward to its prosperous future,” he said.
However a young man at the event in Wonderkop, John Serapelo, said reconciliation would not be achieved as long as different ethnic groups held their separate meetings and did not come together as a community to talk about their frustrations and development.