Crosses were placed on the hill near Marikana in memory of the miners who died during the violence. Picture: Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Crosses were placed on the hill near Marikana in memory of the miners who died during the violence. Picture: Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Marikana Massacre: Surviving victims go for Cyril Ramaphosa

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Aug 17, 2020

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Johannesburg - The families of the 2012 Marikana tragedy which saw 34 miners gunned down and many more injured, have threatened President Cyril Ramaphosa with legal action if he does not apologise for his role and accede to their compensation demands by the end of the month.

This was revealed by one of the victims who survived the massacre, Mzoxolo Magidiwana, and one of their legal representatives, advocate Dali Mpofu.

The two were speaking on Sunday during the 8th commemoration service of the event, hosted by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in Midrand, Johannesburg.

The aggrieved miners have now assembled a team of prominent lawyers who were preparing to wage a legal battle on their behalf, including Mpofu, and advocates Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Dumisa Ntsebeza.

Mpofu said “after September 1 they are going to meet us in court” if Ramaphosa fails to concede to the demands of the victims, who had been “walking with bullets in their bodies for eight years”.

Ramaphosa, who was a director of the Lonmin company during the tragedy, came under scrutiny for calling for “concomitant” action against the miners during their violent strike.

While the Farlam Commission into the massacre cleared Ramaphosa, Mpofu accused him of using legal technical points to evade apologising to the victims. Mpofu said Ramaphosa and his administration had now until the end of the month to compensate the miners or face court action.

“We are also giving him personally until the end of August to ensure that he engages with our attorneys to ensure that he stops taking these technical points and engages with us. We are going to take this matter up, both against him personally and against his government,” Mpofu said.

Dubbed the most lethal use of force by the police in a democratic South Africa, many more miners were left injured, including Magidiwana, as they fought for a R12500 living wage and other improvements to their working conditions on August 16.

Magidiwana indicated that the courts were the only route through which the miners would fight for their compensation and for accountability over the tragedy.

“They must also get the pain that we received. I am saying that Ramaphosa is a billionaire, but he must also go and stand in the dock like me because I also do that,” Magidiwana said.

One of the widows of the 34 striking mineworkers who were gunned down, Nonkululeko Ngxande, said: “An apology is the most important thing, and we are still waiting that one day God will use the hearts of those in power to come and apologise to us. We will forgive them.”

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the union would continue its ­campaign for comprehensive restitution for the victims.

Political Bureau

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