Johannesburg – The ANC says the Marikana killings forced its party led government to introduce laws governing better relations between employers and their workers.
The party issued the statement as the country was observing the 11th anniversary of the brutal killing of workers, the police and security guards during violent protests in Marikana during August 2012.
ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said from August 12 to 16, 2012 tragedy befell the community of Nkaneng in the North West province in what is known as the Marikana tragedy.
On these violent days 38 mineworkers were killed, two police officers and two security personnel brutally murdered while 78 miners were seriously wounded.
Bhengu-Motsiri said to change the face of the mining industry and to guarantee miners’ rights, the ANC-led government introduced progressive laws to regulate the mining industry and other sectors of the economy.
Among the laws was the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) and other laws designed to protect and regulate relations between employees and employers, setting norms and standards for the mining houses for compliance with safety and environmental issues, among others.
In partnership with other stakeholders, multidisciplinary interventions were being undertaken in Marikana to alleviate the plight of the community.
Some key highlights include:
– Establishment of an agricultural hub which created 500 jobs.
– Extended the living wage to include pension and retirement benefits in line with the labour dispensation.
– Construction of Marikana Combined School and Marikana Secondary schools and installation of a computer laboratory.
– Building of a clinic and community hall.
– Donation of R80 million rand land by Stillwater to build houses.
– Payment of reparations to the value of R170 million to the widows and families of the tragedy.
– Establishment of an Education Trust to cater for the educational needs of the children of the deceased.
– Building of houses and a joint memorandum of cooperation between the Housing Development Agency and Sibanye Stillwater to address the needs of the community.
– Plans are under way to erect a memorial site.
– Conversion single sex units into family units the value of R382 million.
– The installation of a network tower to provide internet services to community.
Bhengu-Motsiri said the ANC condemned usage of the Marikana tragedy as a political tool, saying, “insensitive and opportunistic populism and deliberate peddling of misinformation about the tragedy and its aftermath is highly regrettable”.
“It is done at the expense of healing and national unity in a desperate attempt to gain political mileage,” she said.
Bhengu-Motsiri said the ANC joined millions of South Africans in remembrance of the fateful days of 12 to 16 August 2012, saying South Africa is a constitutional democracy founded on dialogue and negotiations and resolution of deadlock through compromise, offering a win-win to all parties.
“The regrettable outcomes during the Marikana tragedy should never ever be allowed to find foot in the current epoch. The ANC dips its flag in remembrance,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.