Sibanye-Stillwater CEO calls for ’mining TRC’ ahead of Marikana massacre 8th anniversary
Johannesburg - The head of one of the country’s biggest mining companies has called for a process similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for the industry.
Ahead of the eighth anniversary of the Marikana massacre on Sunday, Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman, said a mining TRC will help deal with the cause of the events that led to the cold-blooded murder of 34 mineworkers by police.
Froneman committed himself to acknowledging the past and proposed that one of the ways to move forward was to deal with lack of trust among stakeholders.
He insisted that his company’s inaugural Marikana Memorial Lecture was not a public relations exercise and that his company was not trying to move on and ignore what happened in the past.
Instead, it was an attempt to deal with legacy issues of the past and acknowledge what the bad things were.
According to Froneman, the company would ensure that it apologises for those things.
Froneman blamed the massacre on legacy and social issues as well as inter-union rivalry between the AMCU and NUM.
”The industry is also part of the problem … We must acknowledge what went wrong. We need a reconciliation of the past much like the TRC did in the move to democracy,” he admitted.
Froneman said there has to be justice as there hasn’t been any in the Marikana massacre.
”That will get closure to some extent on this issue. We need justice to get closure or partial closure,” he said.
During AMCU’s memorial lecture, Mathunjwa accused Lonmin and the mines’ current owners Sibanye-Stillwater, of being thieves that came to steal and destroy.
”Lonmin and Sibanye-Stillwater are related because they undermine black people’s struggles. It’s now the Sibanye massacre, the business of killing workers is transferred to Neal Froneman. It’s no longer a Lonmin massacre, it’s a Sibanye massacre,” he said.
Delivering the keynote address at the AMCU event, Wits University history Professor Noor Nieftagodien said the Marikana massacre smashed the illusion that poor black lives matter.
He warned that the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis the country is sinking into will get worse in the next year or two.
”We are probably no longer in recession, we are in a depression,” said Nieftagodien, adding that this would lead to worsening violence especially against poor black women.
He said it was time to build alliances of the poor and not just among trade unions, but in communities to fight hunger, landlessness and gender-based violence.
According to Nieftagodien, for justice to prevail in the Marikana killings there will have to be a fundamentally different prosecutorial process.
He said the Marikana massacre was largely forgotten.
”It’s only in these times that we remember the massacre, the rest of the time we suffer from forgetfulness,” Nieftagodien said.
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba described the massacre as “one of the darkest hours in the recent history of our country” and it “left a deep scar in the psyche of our country and us as a people”.
Makgoba said despite having to deal with Covid-19 the country was also facing despicable corruption, gender-based violence and racism, which are all pandemics that must also be fought.