Sunday would mark the third year since the tragic events at Marikana which ended with 44 people dead and many more injured, ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.
“The African National Congress commemorates the lives of these 44 compatriots who lost their lives in Marikana in the period up to and including the 16th August 2012.”
The commemoration of this tragic day in South African history was and should always continue to be a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges the country faced to build an inclusive society characterised by economic redress and social justice. “Our collective desire as a nation is for Marikana to never happen again,” he said.
In remembering Marikana, South Africans should vigilantly guard against the entrenchment of further inequality, the concerning trend of increasingly violent strike action, and lack of adherence to commitments made to improve the lives of the people, mining communities in particular, for the better.
“Consequently, the African National Congress calls for mining companies in general to learn lessons from the tragedy of Marikana and, in honour of the victims of Marikana and other disadvantaged communities in mining towns, commit themselves to full compliance to the Mining Charter.
“The private sector should and must work closely with government on the revitalisation of distressed mining towns,” Kodwa said. The ANC reiterated its call for mining companies to review their position on job cuts; actions which undoubtedly would depress an already sensitive situation.
Government on its part should move with speed to implement the recommendations of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry, Kodwa said. 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 (hill) 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.