Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Marikana massacre hijacked for political interests, says NUM

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Aug 16, 2021

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Pretoria – As South Africa on Monday commemorated the 9th anniversary of the August 2012 Marikana massacre in which 44 people were killed in a violent wage protest at Lonmin mine, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said the unfortunate event is being manipulated for political gain.

“The National Union of Mineworkers views August month as one of the most unfortunate months that ever happened in the history of its existence,” said William Mabapa, NUM acting general secretary.

“It is an unfortunate month in the sense that what happened in August 2012 has been projected and used by any disgruntled people who want to launch their political relevancy at the expense of the plight of the victims of those who were brutally killed and injured around the platinum belts of Rustenburg, in particular the striking workers at Lonmin workers.”

On August 16 2012, 34 people, mostly striking miners, were shot dead and 78 people were wounded when the police fired on a group gathered at a hill near Lonmin's platinum mining operations at Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West, while trying to disperse and disarm them.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

Mabapa said in commemorating the Marikana tragedy, the NUM is mobilizing resources to implement the recommendations made by Judge Ian Farlam's commission which recommended compensation for the victims.

“It should also be remembered that days before the brutal shootings by the police, 10 people were killed and that included mineworkers, security officers and members of the police. So our call has always been that those victims must also be remembered,” said Mabapa.

“As a responsible trade union, we are appealing for people to refrain from politicizing this sensitive event. We should all strive to assist all the victims to find an amicable closure.”

Mabapa said workers who were at Marikana in August 2012 were affected across trade union allegiance.

“Most importantly this unfortunate event exposed the lack of an integration of the industry and the national transformation by the way of giving black mineworkers sufficient compensation and proper accommodation to reclaim their human dignity,” said Mabapa.

“What we are seeing today are political realities beyond trade union segmentation and all of us should not claim narrow political victories. We should all champion workers' unity to advance the aspirations of those who died and those still alive, which is to have a caring mining industry.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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