This 2014 picture shows a white cross as people gather in Marikana, next to the hill where two years ago miners where gunned down by the South African police during a violent wave of strikes. Picture: Mujahid Safodien
This 2014 picture shows a white cross as people gather in Marikana, next to the hill where two years ago miners where gunned down by the South African police during a violent wave of strikes. Picture: Mujahid Safodien

Marikana: EFF, DA blast government

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Aug 16, 2015

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Marikana - Both the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters on Sunday lashed out at government during the 3rd anniversary commemoration for the victims of the August 2012 shooting at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West.

The best tribute that could be paid to the victims was to vote the current government out of office, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told the crowd.

“That dreadful day - 16 August 2012 - and the events of the week that preceded it will forever be etched in our memory as the greatest tragedy to afflict our young democracy,” Maimane said.

EFF leader Julius Malema said the day should be to commemorate only the 34 workers shot dead in a clash with police at the koppie (hill) near the Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana on August 16, 2012.

The death of ten other people, including two police officers and two Lonmin security guards, in the preceding week during the violent wildcat strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine was a separate matter, he said.

“I am not confused. I only know [of] 34 mineworkers. I heard people said 44 people. The other ten is a pure criminal matter that must be investigated and the criminals brought to book,” Malema said.

“The incidents before and after August 16, 2012 is a criminal matter. It must be investigated and [the] criminals arrested. On August 16 the state and Lonmin colluded to kill mineworkers,” he said.

Malema also took a swipe to Lonmin CEO Ben Magara, saying Magara was “black outside but white inside”.

“Being black does not mean you have transformed. We had hoped that a black person will understand….Only to find that the CEO is black outside and white inside. He represented [Lonmin] to defend murder at the commission [Farlam Commission of Inquiry],” Malema said.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission headed by retired judge Ian Farlam to probe the shooting and make recommendations. The commission handed its report to Zuma earlier this year, and he released the findings on June 25.

Maimane said National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega should be fired for the role she played in the events.

“Nathi Mthethwa [former police minister] must be arrested. He knew what was going to happened here at the koppie,” Maimane said.

“The scenes that played out on this koppie and surrounds were ones that no one could ever have imagined they would see in a free, democratic South Africa.

“What makes today’s [Sunday] commemoration even more heartbreaking is the knowledge that the murder of 44 South Africans could have been avoided.

“The tragedy of Marikana could have been avoided by an accountable, responsive government,” he said.

Both Malema and Maimane were received well, with chants of “Juju, JuJu”, and applause and whistles for Maimane.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa was expected to address the crowd later on Sunday.

African News Agency

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