NUM to reconcile with Marikana families

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iol news pic Senzeni Zokwana

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The NUM president Senzeni Zokwana arrived in Rustenburg to deliver a political lecture on problems facing the mining industry in the North West. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Rustenburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Friday said it would reconcile with the families of those injured and killed during violent strikes at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

“Even if NUM is not found to have contributed (to the violence) NUM will be committed not only to make sure this never happens again, but that mineworkers are united,” NUM president Senzeni Zokwana told the Farlam commission of inquiry.

He was asked under cross-examination if the union would be willing to reconcile with those affected, if it were found to have contributed to the violence during the Marikana strike.

“I don't think we need to be found guilty to participate,” he said.

Zokwana said what had happened at Marikana was an emotional issue, and that as a former mineworker he recalled the pain of seeing a co-worker's body brought up from the mine.

“You know, the reason I became a member of a union was to build unity,” he told Dali Mpofu, representing those arrested and injured during the violent strike.

He said mineworkers should be bound together by the difficult situations under which they worked.

“I hope that a day will come when all those workers in Karee and Impala can go to that spot where these things happened and make a vow that never in our lifetime will we allow that to happen again.”

He said the deaths of 44 people at the North West mine in August should not be in vain.

Zokwana said the mining industry needed to change after what happened at Marikana.

“It can only happen when recommendations are made to unions, to government, and to the mines,” he said.

The commission adjourned until Wednesday.

It is probing the 44 deaths during a strike at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana.

Thirty-four strikers were shot dead and 78 were wounded when the police opened fire while trying to disperse a group of protesters gathered on a hill near the mine on August 16.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed. - Sapa


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