Durban — The lawyer for the miners and families of the 34 miners who were gunned down by the police in Marikana on August 16, 2012 has said that a high court ruling supported his clients’ view that President Cyril Ramaphosa caused the massacre.
Last week, the South Gauteng High Court found that Ramaphosa might be liable for the killing and injuring of striking miners who were demanding a better wage.
The workers sought compensation from Ramaphosa and the mine bosses of Sibanye-Stillwater (formerly known as Lonmin).
Judge Frits van Oosten found that Ramaphosa and Sibanye-Stillwater were complicit in the events leading up to the killing of the miners.
Reacting to the court ruling, the attorney for the miners, Andries Nkome, said that his clients felt vindicated that after “the costly, arduous and protracted litigation the courts shared their view that politicians, particularly Cyril Ramaphosa, caused the massacre”.
“If police attended to a labour unrest, they would have brought rubber bullets and water canons. Now he (Ramaphosa) managed to sway the operation to a dastardly criminal act, and as such the army was called in and mortuary vans were mobilised instead of ambulances … clearly the result was foreseen,” said Nkome.
On Monday, the EFF said the Marikana Massacre and the Bosasa and Phala Phala Farmgate scandals proved that “the love of money” would be the downfall of Ramaphosa.
EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said the high court held that Ramaphosa has a case to answer as the alleged mastermind behind the toxic collusion between the South African government and Sibanye-Stillwater which resulted in the massacre of workers in Marikana.
“This is a small but significant step in the right direction. The trial is long overdue for Ramaphosa to be exposed for his toxic role in the gunning down of mineworkers.
“It is tragic that Ramaphosa refuses to apologise for his evil deeds, which he perpetrated purely for the love of money,” Thambo said.
“Justice for the victims of the Marikana Massacre might be slow but it will come. The National Prosecuting Authority must now charge Ramaphosa criminally for his role in the massacre of African mineworkers, whose only sin was asking for a living wage.”
Approached for comment, NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on a matter that we are not seized with.”
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, did not respond to written questions from the publication.
Political analyst and senior lecturer at the University of Limpopo, Dr Metji Makgoba said there were strong grounds for the Marikana miners to seek both legal and political accountability for the massacre.
“I think the letter from Ramaphosa is enough for the matter to be pursued, considering that the president chose the side of the capital instead of protecting the peaceful protesting miners.
“He had influence and used it to apply pressure on the police, which on its own shows the conflict of interest on the part of Ramaphosa,” said Makgoba.
Another independent political analyst, Professor Tumi Senokoane, said that if Ramaphosa were to be pursued for applying pressure on senior officials and the police, then the expectation would be for him to take leave as president of the country so that he did not interfere with law enforcement agencies.
“There is a need to step aside if one is implicated in criminality. I'm not sure whether the NPA would conduct any successful job in prosecuting him if he is charged because history has proven there have always been issues when it comes to charging a sitting president.
“It will be good for the country to finally have closure on the issue of Marikana – if not, it will definitely haunt the country as it proves that justice applies to some people but not to everybody. Justice must be witnessed by the country and the families who are victims of the brutal killing of peaceful miners. Politicians conflicted between business and politics must learn not to abuse their power,” said Senokoane.