Thirty-four mineworkers were killed in Marikana on 16 August 2012 by police. The SA National Civic Organisation wants church and traditional leaders to facilitate dialogue towards reconciliation in Marikana. File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu.

RUSTENBURG - The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in North West has appealed to church leaders and traditional leaders to facilitate dialogue between government, aggrieved Marikana families and communities in order to pave the way towards reconciliation and apolitical annual commemoration services of the 2012 Marikana massacre.    
 
Sanco provincial chairman Paul Sebegoe expressed disappointment that the Marikana massacre was still being used for political opportunism instead of reconciliation, social cohesion and nation-building.

"Though the massacre remains a painful blot and a repulsive chapter in the history of South Africa’s young democracy, opportunistic elements are deliberately keeping government as well other key roleplayers at bay for their own narrow and myopic political selfish interests, making it virtually impossible for meaningful dialogue necessary for the healing process to commence," he said ahead of the seventh anniversary commemoration on Friday.

He said squeezing as much political mileage out of the tragic incident that saw 44 people killed, including 34 striking mine workers gunned down by police on 16 August 2012, seemed to be the primary objective of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

"Though they appear to be sympathetic, rekindling the anger of miners including deepening the pain of the Marikana widows and orphans appears to be the strongest hold they do not want to lose for their political survival."

He said delayed justice and political opportunism have deferred reconciliation and healing necessary for families that lost their loved ones as they seek to find closure and move on.

Forty four people were killed during a violent wildcat strike at Lonmin platinum mines' Marikana operation in August 2012, as workers downed tools demanding a minimum monthly salary of R12,500.

Thirty four mineworkers were killed when the police shot them on 16 August 2012, while ten other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in violence the preceding week.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the conditions that enabled the Marikana massacre to occur still exist and said he had requested President Cyril Ramaphosa to officially declare August 16 Marikana Memorial Day in honour of the mineworkers killed.

"The conditions that enabled the Marikana massacre to occur still exist today. President Ramaphosa has the power to honour the victims of Marikana by pursuing the reform of our nation’s mining sector. The time for talk is over, the people of South Africa want action," Maimane said.

DA North West leader Joe McGluwa is expected to attend the commemoration on Friday, accompanied by DA national spokespersons Refiloe Nt’sekhe and Solly Malatsi.

Amcu has previously wanted South Africa to declare August 16 as workers' day in honour of the killed mineworkers.

African News Agency (ANA)