File picture: Dumisani Dube/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - Labour unions reiterated their calls for justice to be served five years since 34 miners were shot and killed by police in what’s known as the “Marikana Massacre”.

The biggest union in the country the National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) says little change was evident for workers and those families that lost their loved ones.

It said it was disheartening that no one had been arrested or held responsible for the shooting of the 34 mineworkers and the 10 people that died in the days leading up to the massacre.

In August 2012 thousands of mineworks embarked on a wage strike in Marikana, in the North West, with mining company Lonmin, they were demanding wage adjustments of R12 500.

“It was Lonmin’s failure to treat workers as human beings which caused the strike. The majority of miners in Marikana live in tin hovels called shacks, which have no water or electricity,” said Numsa in a statement on Wednesday.

The union, like many others, still believe Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a shareholder at Lonmin at the time, is guilty for the death of the miners.

This is beside the fact that Ramaphosa was cleared by the Farlam Commission that looked into the events leading up to the massacre.

“As Numsa we believe that Ramaphosa has yet to take full responsibility for the role he played in the mass murder of workers in Marikana and that is why we reject his apology,” said Numsa.

Although workers at Lonmin earn better wages than they did when the strike took place, Numsa says there was little movement in the conditions that workers lived and worked in.

Union federation Nactu shared similar sentiments and said it has long called for this day to be declared a public holiday to mark its significance.

“This federation is also calling for the authorities to fully reimburse those families whose breadwinners lost their lives. Nactu is perturbed because till today no one was held accountable. Even the officer that gave the order to shoot has not given the cogent reason for shooting,” said Nactu.

As part of its annual commemoration, labour union Amcu, which is the majority union in platinum mines, will hold an event at the Koppie in Marikana where the mine-workers congregated during the strike in 2012. 

Wreaths will also be laid close to the site.

Politics Hub