Cape Town - FORMER Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has offered to use her position as Stellenbosch University’s Law Trust Chair in Social Justice to ensure that the families of the victims of the Marikana massacre finally get justice.
Madonsela on Friday delivered Sibanye-Stillwater’s inaugural Marikana Memorial Lecture ahead of the eighth anniversary of the massacre on Sunday.
Earlier this week, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri), which represents the families of the 34 mineworkers killed by police in Marikana on August 16, 2012, expressed their unhappiness with the failure to successfully prosecute cops who mowed down the striking miners.
Seri complained that each year has passed without justice for the mineworkers and their families despite nine police officers being charged with the murder of three striking mineworkers and two police officers in the days leading up to the massacre.
Madonsela said she understood that there was still a lot of anger and sadness for the tragedy.
”Regarding helping Bapo ba Mogale and the people of Marikana get justice both criminally and administratively we are happy at the social justice chair at Stellenbosch University to be part of this,” she promised.
Bapo ba Mogale is the poor community on whose land Lonmin and - now Sibanye-Stillwater - extract platinum worth billions of rands.
Madonsela said she hoped Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa and others were listening to her lecture and would be happy to engage on the matter.
”We do need to conclude the justice process so that everyone can have closure. There can’t be justice without accountability and there can’t be justice without restitution,” she said.
Amcu, which also held its own annual memorial lecture addressed by Wits University history Professor Noor Nieftagodien, was critical of Madonsela for accepting the invitation by Sibanye-Stillwater, which bought Lonmin last year, to address what Mathunjwa described as a parallel event.
”Where is the consciousness of Thuli Madonsela? She’s never been to the koppie. When the downtrodden called she didn’t run, when the master calls she runs,” said Mathunjwa in reference to Sibanye-Stillwater chief executive Neal Froneman.
Mathunjwa likened the company having its own memorial lecture to white supremacy and looking down on black people.
”Sibanye-Stillwater undermines Amcu as a representative of workers,” he said.
Mathunjwa also expressed his displeasure with the slow pace of justice for the victims and their families.
”There is no justice, where are our fathers, brothers? Where is the justice for the victims of the Marikana massacre?”
Madonsela said she understood Mathunjwa’s anger and that the urge to lash out when in pain is a natural instinct.
”My heart goes out to him, he’s entitled to be angry, he was there. It is real, his pain is raw,” she said.
Madonsela dismissed Mathunjwa’s claim that Froneman was her master and denied that she had never been to Marikana.
She said she had investigated the looting of millions of rands in Bapo ba Mogale’s royalties from Lonmin after a complaint was lodged in 2012.
The report was eventually released by her successor Busi Mkhwebane in 2017.
She said Mathunjwa’s claims all come from a place of sadness and anger.
”Should I be invited I’d be happy to come to an event organised by Mathunjwa or any other person,” Madonsela said.
Froneman said the union, which he did not identify, was an integral part of the preparations for the lecture until last weekend and that for whatever reason they chose not to participate