South Africa 15.8.2015 05:00 pm

Marikana miners want August 16 to be public holiday

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 16: People during the commemoration rally of the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre on August 16, 2014 in Rustenburg, South Africa. Thirty-four miners were killed by police on 16 August 2012 during a violent wage increase protest. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Waldo Swiegers)

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 16: People during the commemoration rally of the second anniversary of the Marikana massacre on August 16, 2014 in Rustenburg, South Africa. Thirty-four miners were killed by police on 16 August 2012 during a violent wage increase protest. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Waldo Swiegers)

Mineworkers who survived the August 2012 shooting at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, want August 16 to be declared a national public holiday.

 “We are gathering here at the koppie [a hill in Marikana]. We request that August 16 be declared a national public holiday in memory of people who died here.

“As it stands now August 16 is only a holiday for mineworkers,” workers’ leader Bob Ndude told reporters at Marikana on Saturday, ahead of the third anniversary of the shooting.

Ndude said the workers also wanted the koppie to be fenced off and declared a monument in honour of the mineworkers killed there.

In August 2012, mineworkers at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana went on a wildcat strike demanding a minimum salary of R12,500 a month.

They rejected the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), and camped on top of a koppie near Nkaneng informal settlement demanding that Lonmin officials negotiate with them at the koppie.

The strike turned violent and 34 people, mostly mineworkers, died in a clash with police on August 16, 2012. The police were apparently attempting to disarm and disperse them.

Ten other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

On June 25, President Jacob Zuma released the report of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry appointed to probe the 44 deaths and make recommendations.

The commission found, among other things, that Lonmin, the NUM, and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) could have prevented the strike.

However, the commission cleared Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa – a Lonmin non-executive director at the time of the strike – and various Cabinet ministers of any wrongdoing.

After the commission cleared Ramaphosa and the other ministers, the Economic Freedom Fighters laid criminal charges against him and former mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu, former police minister Nathi Mthethwa, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, former North West police commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo, and Lonmin.

Amcu Rustenburg region chairman Jack Ndima-Khoba said preparations for the third anniversary of the shooting on Sunday were progressing smoothly.

“Yesterday [Friday] we were meeting the Madibeng local municipality to submitted our papers in line with section four of the Gathering Act. It has been approved,” he said.

“Security will be tight; there will be the mine security, marshals, and the police. We expect over 20,000 people to attend,” he said.

 

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