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Johannesburg - Those inciting violence must realise the gravity of their actions, an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) dealing with the aftermath of the Marikana shooting said on Wednesday.
“These statements provoke emotions of people and do not assist the country in the process of healing after a national tragedy, where 44 people lost their lives,” the IMC said in a statement.
“The committee wishes to condemn... statements that incite violence and cause unwarranted instability in our country.”
On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers from Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana, North West, killing 34 and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed earlier that week, including two policemen and two security guards.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, who is on the committee appointed by President Jacob Zuma, said leaders needed to be responsible when making statements.
“Government has a responsibility to maintain law and order and therefore will not tolerate any irresponsible and unwarranted provocation from any quarters of our society,” he said.
The IMC said since it had started its work the situation in Marikana was stabilising and negotiations were taking place to resolve the labour dispute.
Although every citizen had a right to protest, as guaranteed by the Constitution, people should refrain from carrying dangerous weapons during protests, it said.
“The carrying of dangerous weapons in circumstances which have the potential to result in violence does not assist in any way to advance the cause of those who are protesting and adherence to the law is paramount in this regard” Chabane said.
Earlier on Wednesday strikers at the Lonmin mine, carrying knobkerries, sticks, and iron rods, pushed their way through police barricades as they marched more than five kilometres to the Karee mine.
The miners wanted their salaries increased to R12 500 a month, and for Lonmin to close its K3 shaft, where most of the mine's operations took place.
The protesters planned to gather again in a field opposite the mine of Wednesday night.
The IMC said it was concerned about the strikes that were starting at other mines.
Mineworkers at Gold Fields' KDC gold mine on the West Rand, and at Gold One's Modder East mine near Springs, went on strike this week.
The IMC said: “Through the department of labour and mineral resources, dialogue will continue to assist in resolving the issues. In this regard, the committee calls for constructive leadership which will lead to an amicable solution to the current impasse.” - Sapa