Everyone involved in the build-up to the shooting in Lonmin's Marikana mine was responsible for the deaths of 34 mine workers, ANC national executive member Cyril Ramaphosa wrote in The Sunday Times.
“There are very few innocents in this tragic saga. Those who suffered the greatest loss - the wives, partners and children of those who died - bear the least responsibility for what happened,” he said.
“For wherever we find ourselves we cannot escape the sense that, through our action or inaction, we bear some responsibility for the circumstances that made such a tragedy possible.”
Ramaphosa said Lonmin management, its board and all of its stakeholders, the National Union of Mineworkers, the Association and Mineworkers and Construction Union, the police and the striking miners were all responsible for the shooting.
He said most mines were located in areas with poor infrastructure, weak governance and few basic services. This often led to the development of informal settlements.
“This points to a need for better development planning and greater co-operation between government and mining companies,” he said.
“We need to think beyond the social and labour plans that mining companies develop. We must measure success not merely by regulatory compliance, but by the tangible differences we make in the lives of people in mining communities.”
Former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said last week that the miners were shot to protect Ramaphosa's shares in Lonmin. - Sapa