The government yesterday participated in the Marikana commemoration for the first time after nine years, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has conceded. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
The government yesterday participated in the Marikana commemoration for the first time after nine years, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has conceded. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Government pays tribute to Marikana miners

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Aug 18, 2021

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THE GOVERNMENT yesterday participated in the Marikana commemoration for the first time after nine years, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has conceded.

Speaking during the second annual Marikana Massacre lecture held virtually, Mantashe said it was regrettable that the government officially participated in the commemoration of this tragic event for the first time after nine years.

“To us, this commemorative occasion is a double-edged sword; first, it reminds us of an unfortunate and regrettable event in our past which must never repeat itself, and second, it implores us to strive for the higher ideals amplified by the text and spirit of our transformative constitution,” Mantashe said.

A total of 34 mine workers were killed in a police shootout on August 16, 2012, and more than 70 others were injured amid an unprotected strike for higher wages at the koppie of Sibanye-Stillwater’s Marikana mine which was previously owned by Lonmin. Days before the shootout 10 people including mine workers, two police officers, and two security guards were killed brutally.

Mantashe said in a bid to level the playing field, the government implemented the 2018 Mining Charter which “recognises this truism by ensuring that the communities and workers do not only participate in the exploitation of mineral resources as purveyors of cheap labour, but also as equity owners”.

Mantashe said the charter implores the mining companies to give at least 5 percent free-carried interests to communities and at least 5 percent free-carried interests to workers.

“In this way, mineworkers can benefit from the exploitation of mineral resources beyond wages,” said Mantashe. He said the charter has further ensured that this benefit is not subjected to any reduction by the mining right holder through the issuing of new shares,” said Mantashe.

Meanwhile, former Gold Fields’ chairperson, Mamphela Ramphele who delivered the memorial lecture, said the mining industry in South Africa would have a brighter future if it were to embrace this wisdom and transform its operations from extractive models towards regenerative ones.

“Imagine a transformed institutional culture that affirms the dignity of all and celebrates the diverse contributions each participant brings to the party. Imagine the rise in energy levels that would be unleashed. Imagine the growing trust levels that would encourage all to share their ideas because they would know that each one of them matters and they are better together,” said Ramphele.

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