File photo: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane attended the funeral of Themba Gwelani, who was killed in violent confrontations with police in Marikana, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) said on Saturday.

“The minister was welcomed by members of the Gwelani family and the mourners who were gathered at the funeral,” spokesman Harold Maloka said in a statement.

At the funeral in Lusikisiki, in the Eastern Cape on Saturday, Chabane passed on President Jacob Zuma's condolences to the family. He also extended the sadness felt by the government as well as ordinary South Africans.

Thirty-four people were killed on August 16, when police opened fire on striking workers gathered on a hill near Lonmin's Marikana

mine, in North West. Another ten, including two police officers and two security guards, had been killed in protests around the mine the week before.

Chabane said government had taken a decision to support all families of the 44 people killed in Marikana.

“Mr Gwelani, was not an employee of Lonmin mine however, his family was still expecting a lot from him,” Chabane said.

“We are with the family and this community in your loss and we will do whatever possible to ensure that support is provided to the family in Mr Gwelani's absence.”

Chief Mpendulo Jiba of Makhwaleni told mourners he was grateful to government for attending the funerals held in the Eastern Cape.

Maloka said government helped the families with the arrangements for the funerals and social workers were on hand to provide counselling.

State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele also attended a funeral in Lusikisiki for another of the men killed at Marikana.

Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini attended funerals that took place in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.

Government representatives attended 31 funerals in total on Saturday. - Sapa