By Samkelo Mtshali
Tomorrow marks the ninth anniversary of the killing of 34 striking mine workers at the hands of the SAPS in Marikana and political parties are calling for the reparation process for the victims’ families to be sped up.
Although the Marikana Commission of Inquiry chaired by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Ian Farlam absolved political leaders linked to the events around the massacre, calls for justice have continued.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute told Independent Media that only R100 million had been paid to the families by the state and some who were injured in the events had still not been paid.
Some political parties in the Parliament have also weighed in on what needs to be done for the victims and their beneficiaries.
Narend Singh, IFP chief whip in Parliament, said it had taken far too long for the government to do something about the victims of Marikana and that it should not be pressure from civil society, victims’ families or political parties that should spur government into acting.
“These are the kind of things that lead to frustration and the people thinking that this government is not serving its purpose. Certainly not enough has been done, there have been promises of development of infrastructure, housing etcetera for those victims, I think even before the disaster there were issues of the living conditions of people in that area,” Singh said.
James Lorimer, MP and DA spokesperson on mineral resources, said that the lack of justice and arrests of those behind the killing of the miners was part of the non-accountability of the ANC government.
“It’s almost inevitable that nobody gets held accountable, particularly those at the top, they get off scot-free. There’s lots of talk about accountability and nothing happens.
“Some of the things that happened on that, with the police obviously hunting miners down in that koppie was unbelievably bad and for nobody to be held accountable for that is a terrible reflection on not just the police but the entire government,” Lorimer said.
Bantu Holomisa, UDM leader, said it was unfortunate that the much needed apology from the state for the massacre had not been forthcoming.
“With the question of reparations, the legal representatives have confirmed that they’re still not satisfied with the payments. I thought Cyril Ramaphosa, of all people, would make sure that this thing is sped up, especially that he was responsible for calling for the government to crush this rebellion.
“I think he still needs to make sure that those outstanding monies are paid without delay, over and above that the government of the ANC must apologise for the incident of this massacre which has left a big blot in the history of the ANC,” Holomisa said.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said that the process of reparations had been particularly slow and that the state should do more because the Marikana Massacre was a mass scale atrocity.
“To show sensitivity, the government should reach out through other means, even if there are legal wrangles, because there’s still an opportunity to do more. It is also quite a problem because there’s not been a single arrest on the side of the police, there’s not been justice.
“Besides the payment of people, at least state institutions need to be seen functioning in a way that people can have confidence that an incident of that nature will not happen again and the best deterrent is to ensure that there are consequences,” Mathekga said.