Activist Napoleon Webster slams NUM Marikana rally as 'act of provocation'
Marikana - A National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) rally in Marikana near Rustenburg in the North West scheduled for Sunday is an act of "provocation", according to former Forum 4 Service Delivery (F4SD) town councillor and activist Napoleon Webster.
The decision by the NUM and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to hold the rally was "nothing but a water testing strategy to ascertain as to whether the river is still deep or sunk so that they could cross (sic)", Webster said on Sunday.
Cosatu and the NUM's presence in the volatile Marikana area was an "act of provocation". "Conscious driven community members ought to publicly denounce by rejecting and distancing themselves from extreme provoking Cosatu/NUM visit to our community (sic)," he said.
The NUM rally in Marikana is the first since before the August 2012 shootings during a violent wildcat strike at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mining operations, now Sibanye-Stillwater.
NUM national spokesperson Livhuwani Mammburuu said on Saturday that the aim "of organising the rally in Marikana is to try and resuscitate the NUM in the platinum belt".
"Since the start of the rampant killings of our members in 2012, we have never held a national rally in the area. Our members have long been calling for such a rally, but due to logistics we have been unable to hold it.
"The NUM urges all mineworkers, irrespective of union membership, the Cosatu union affiliates and members of the community to support the upcoming Marikana rally," he said.
"Seven years later, workers are still forced to deal with the spectre of violence that continues to haunt the mining sector and the platinum belt in particular. Marikana cannot be allowed to become a slaughterhouse for the workers and a playground for assassins," Mammburuu said.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) toppled the NUM as the dominant trade union in the platinum belt following the 2012 Lonmin strike in Marikana.
Thirty-four people, mostly mineworkers, were killed on August 16, 2012 when police fired on them. Ten other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the preceding week, allegedly by the striking mineworkers.
Since August 2012, several members of both the NUM and Amcu have been killed in the platinum belt. The latest being the death of NUM member Lunga Madiba. He was shot dead on November 1 while on his way to work at Rowland shaft of Sibanye in Marikana.
African News Agency (ANA)