Miners remind Zuma of cultural weapons

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GCWALISILE KHANYILE

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma was this week reminded that he cannot question the miners’ right to wield traditional weapons because he also brandishes spears during his wedding ceremonies.

Miners told Zuma that carrying a spear did not mean they had planned to kill the police, but this was a culture in Pondoland as it was in KwaZulu-Natal.

“I reminded Zuma that when a Zulu man weds traditionally, he carries a spear. Zuma personally carried a spear at his last traditional wedding.

“In Pondoland we also have the same culture of carrying spears, not because we want to kill.

“Why does he think that mineworkers wanted to kill the police? Is it because they were carrying spears?” miners’ co-ordinator Xolani Nzuza said.

Nzuza had addressed Zuma and led him to the scene where 34 miners were killed by the police.

Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj, who had initially denied that the miners confronted Zuma with this issue, said there were people killed with pangas and stabbed with spears in Marikana, but refused to go into detail.

“This is not a matter for the president to prejudge.

“He has appointed a commission of inquiry to look into all the aspects of the Marikana issue,” Maharaj said.

The miners last week escalated the list of their demands from the Lonmin management.

Not only are they demanding a more than 100 percent salary increase, but they want arrested miners released.

They also want the mine to pay salaries of the deceased to the families or the miners’ children.

“On Wednesday the Lonmin management met with us and they asked that if they were to sign for us to get the R12 500 salary, would we go back to work immediately. We agreed, but there is a condition,” Nzuza said.

Miners said they would not accept anything short of R12 500.

Lonmin spokeswoman Sue Vey said:

“Right now we have only agreed on a peace accord.

“No decisions have been made and no demands have been discussed… there hasn’t been an agreement as to whether they (miners) are going to get an increase or not,” Vey said.

A miner, Zamikhaya Ndude said if they received an increase, it would improve their lives.

Meanwhile, striking miners rejected ANC stalwart Cyril Ramaphosa’s R2 million donations to help with the funerals.

Another miner, Tholakele Dlunga said Ramaphosa was part of the people “who killed us”.

“We want the mine to support the family members of those who were killed (in the Marikana massacre).

“Many miners who died were sole breadwinners in their families,” Dlunga said.

Dlunga added that Ramaphosa was supposed to offer the R2m when miners first embarked on the strike.

Ramaphosa’s spokeswoman Maureen Maphatsoe said none of the families her firm engaged rejected the money.

“I understand money cannot replace human life. Our contribution was in trying to make the burden lighter for them,” she said.


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