A “tragedy” like the Marikana massacre should never happen again, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said in a tweet.
This as the country commemorates the killings seven years ago at Lonmin’s Marikana mine. A total of 44 people lost their lives at the mine in August 2012, with 34 being killed by police on August 16.
Ramaphosa, who was a director and shareholder at Lonmin at the time, shared a message to South Africans via his personal Twitter page.
“The Marikana tragedy stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy. Today we remember our 44 compatriots who lost their lives in Marikana seven years ago this week. Never again can we allow such a tragedy to befall our nation,” he tweeted.
The ANC said in a statement on Friday that “Marikana will forever remain blight on the history of democratic South Africa”.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement: “The ANC recognises that, try as we might, South Africa can never go back and undo the tragic incidents leading up to and which occurred on that fateful day. However, as South Africans, we can learn from them, or rather we have a duty to learn from them.”
A strike for better wages in 2012 resulted in 34 people being killed by police, 78 wounded and 250 arrested on August 16, 2012. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed during the previous week, News24 earlier reported.
The EFF hit out at the ANC government in a statement.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said on Friday: “Mineworkers were demanding a living wage, fighting with a white-owned mine that had exploited black people for many years. They were refusing the working conditions that kept their lives in danger for almost no pay and no benefits, including medical aid.
“Yet the ANC government chose to protect the white-owned mine and its interests, instead of helping workers change their historic conditions, as a cheap and easily disposable labour.”
The South African Communist Party called on workers and trade unions to unite and wage a “common struggle against economic exploitation”.
Party spokesperson Alex Mashilo said in a statement: “What happened in the Rustenburg platinum belt, inclusive of Marikana, points to the fundamental necessity for workers and trade unions to unite in pursuit of the common struggle against economic exploitation; the struggle for social emancipation.”
On August 26, 2012, former president Jacob Zuma appointed a Marikana commission of inquiry chaired by Judge Ian Farlam to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising from the killings, News24 earlier reported.
A 600-page report was submitted to the president in March 2015, which recommended that an inquiry be held into the fitness of then national police commissioner Riah Phiyega and North West commissioner Lieutenant-General Zukiswa Mbombo to hold office,
It also recommended that the killings and assaults be referred to the director of public prosecutions for further investigation, News24 reported.