Johannesburg - The Marikana tragedy was the result of three main factors, the DA said on Thursday.
These were an ill-prepared police force; a labour regime which relegated members of non-ANC affiliated unions to “outsider status”; and a minerals sector that was under severe pressure due to policy paralysis from a government wary of alienating its political allies.
DA labour spokesman Sej Motau was joined by his police counterpart Dianne Kohler Barnard and the party’s mineral resources spokesman, James Lorimer.
Motau said DA representatives who visited Marikana this week had been told by workers that a “distinct insider-outsider” dynamic was at play.
“Without access to the formal platforms, workers have had to find alternative ways to have their voices heard.”
Motau said the provision in the Labour Relations Act that a union was considered a representative union when its members comprised the majority of employees, gave disproportionate power to large unions.
“It is essentially a ‘winner-takes-all’ system that serves as a mechanism to protect the entrenched interests of large Cosatu-affiliated unions.
“The representative union in the case of Lonmin stands to gain, at a very minimum, R7.9 million per annum from members’ fees collected across the three mines.”
Motau said that to end violent protests, the government must find the political will to adopt some of the proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act before Parliament.
He recommended various steps to ensure parity in worker representation.
Kohler Barnard said urgent attention must be paid to the strategic and operational management of the police.
She said the “disarray” in the intelligence service had left a void which meant that the growing threat of violence at Marikana had not been proactively identified and managed.
“The current vacancies in crime intelligence must be filled as a matter of urgency.”
Lorimer said the events at Marikana pointed to the need for a structural shift in the mining industry.