Marikana miners were killers - Zuma

Published Jun 24, 2015


Pretoria  - President Jacob Zuma has yet again displayed his contempt for the victims and relatives of the Marikana massacre after he randomly announced that the slain and wounded miners had themselves been killers.

This was the view of some of the people who packed the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) south campus hall to listen to Zuma’s address on Tuesday.

They said the president had contravened presidential decorum by addressing the students on the deaths of the miners while families were still waiting for the Farlam Commission’s report into the Marikana massacre.

Zuma stunned his audience when he said the striking miners had been killers before they were shot on August 16, 2012, referring to the killing of 10 people ahead of the massacre.

He said the police had been forced to stop the violence that had been prevailing at the time.

“Even the Marikana miners were shot after killing people,” he said.

The audibly shocked reaction of those in the hall was quickly stifled by security personnel, who were quietly instructed to walk through the venue.

Several people said Zuma had been irresponsible to talk about the issue for which he had recently been taken to court because of his delay in releasing the report.

Said one lecturer, who did not want to be named: “Zuma was not supposed to have spoken about Marikana. It’s an insult to both the families of the (slain) miners and the students.”

A pastor was overheard saying: “Zuma should have communicated directly with the concerned families rather than speak irresponsibly.”

Attorney Andries Nkome, who has represented some of the families, was more scathing: “This only confirms what the families have been saying all along: that Zuma’s attitude towards them is one of contempt.”

The families of the injured and slain miners had initially written to the president, asking that he release the report of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

“Instead of addressing himself to them, he spoke about it in Parliament,” Nkome said.

Zuma has to release the report by June 30, as ordered by the high court in Pretoria.

Zuma, who was accompanied by members of the Gauteng provincial legislature and other dignitaries, was speaking in Soshanguve during the conclusion of the Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Programme. He had earlier visited some of the people who provide accommodation to students who had failed to secure university accommodation.


Zuma’s visit was marred by clashes between ANC and EFF supporters, who squared off ahead of the president’s arrival at 1pm.

Things heated up fast as the singing got louder and the insults got meaner, and chaos broke out when the EFF students started chanting “Pay back the money”.

Bricks, kicks and fists flew as EFF students were grabbed by their red T-shirts and had their red berets and helmets snatched and burnt by the ANC members, who were in the majority.

As the clashes escalated, police and university security personnel tried to break them up, only for the violence to flare up again.

The EFF claimed ANC members had planned to kill them if they showed up for Zuma’s address, while ANC members said they would not tolerate insults being made about Zuma, which included chanting “Pay back the money”.

“The ANC wants to kill us, so to save my life I will leave,” said an injured Thembisile Nikelo, who was hit with bricks on an arm and his lower back.

Inside the hall, Buti Manamela, the deputy minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency, told the more than 1 000 people to ignore those who were hell-bent on diverting attention away from the president.

In his address, Zuma talked about he problems encountered by TUT students, among them accommodation, the lack of proper ablution facilities and the presence of taverns at the Tshwane North campus.

He then went on to address the violent nature of TUT student protests.

“It is important that while exercising our rights we do not interfere in the rights of others. The fact that they burnt 18 cars during recent protest action was cause for serious concern.

“Do not use violence to express yourselves, or I might be forced to relook at the apartheid laws that used violence to suppress people.”

It was then that Zuma said the police had been forced to shoot the Marikana miners. “They (striking miners) had killed people, if you do not know,” said the president.

[email protected]

Pretoria News

Related Topics: