The affordable education loan option
North West - The word “Marikana” means nothing but death and brutality to Warrant Officer Tsietsi Monene’s family.
The violent Lonmin wage strike did not only claim their brother’s life, it “killed our entire family”. Monene, 47, and his colleague, Warrant Officer Sello Lepaku, 45, were hacked to death in a fierce confrontation with striking miners on August 13 last year.
Elizabeth Maubane, also a public-order police officer like her late brother, received a frantic call from her boss that day. “I’m sorry about your brother’s death,” he said.
“At first I was confused and couldn’t understand him. I hung up the phone and immediately called my elder brother, who confirmed the news.
“I felt a sharp pain piercing through my heart… I couldn’t believe that Tsietsi was gone, just like that,” she says.
Earlier that day, Maubane had called her brother, informing him about the death of a family friend in Limpopo.
“Sesi ke mo Marikana (sister, I’m in Marikana), but I’ll make it a point that I come back for the funeral,” Maubane says, recalling what was their last conversation.
“Little did we both know that he wasn’t going to make it home alive.”
Her brother’s death has left a huge vacuum in the family. His death killed everyone.
“We’re not coping and it pains us all so much looking at his children, going through such profound pain. The children even refuse to watch television because every time the word ‘Marikana’ comes up, they start crying,” she says.
Her 75-year-old mother, who communicated with Monene at least once a day, was still suffering from severe trauma, while his wife was not any different. “We wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for the police service. They’ve been very supportive towards us,” she adds.
On Tuesday, Maubane attended a prayer service in memory of her brother, organised by North West police in Potchefstroom.
“The service opened the wounds. It was a very difficult day that brought back memories, and it was as if that telephonic conversation with my brother happened just hours ago,” she says.
Maubane has attended the Farlam Commission of Inquiry from day one, hoping to find answers and closure.
“We need to know exactly what happened. We need answers and maybe only then we’ll heal,” she says.
“We thought the commission would have concluded by now, but we’re still attending the hearing.”
A few months ago, Maubane walked the ground on which her brother was murdered. It was during an inspection by the commission.
That day she wept uncontrollably as she approached the area where an orange cone marked the spot. This is the exact spot where Monene’s bloodied body lay on the afternoon of August 13.
Supported by family members, Maubane put flowers on the spot.
“He didn’t deserve to die in this manner. A humble, sweet and a dedicated person like him didn’t deserve all that,” she said. “He loved his job and his uniform so much that he wore it with pride.
“His death has robbed us of a brother, father, son, friend and husband. And the country has lost a dedicated law enforcement officer. We miss him every day.”