Marikana's long wait for justice
SIX years after the massacre of 34 striking miners at Marikana, the affected families are still waiting for the R80 million expected to be shared among them, an apology from the state and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to engage with them.
Ramaphosa has indicated from a number of public platforms that he would visit Marikana in North West province, but that has yet to materialise.
At the time of the shooting, on August 16, 2012, Rampahosa was a non-executive director of Lonmin. His company, Shanduka, was a minority shareholder in Lonmin.
The striking workers were demanding a pay rise and used the “koppie” as their congregation point. Thirty-four workers were killed there and scores of others injured when police opened fire on them.
In June, a loss of income support agreement between the families and the police ministry was signed. This was confirmed by Khuselwa Dyantyi, of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, (Seri), the legal representatives of the affected families.
“We are still negotiating for general damages but there is not much we can say about that,” said Dyanti.
Another difficulty associated with Marikana, was the state’s failure to take responsibility for what had happened, Dyantyi added.
“Since the Marikana Commission our clients were always treated as if their loved ones were criminals whereas they were the ones wronged by the state and Lonmin,” she said.
She added: “At present, none of our clients have received financial compensation or any apology. The families will never have anything good to say about this process until compensation is paid and the state has apologised.”
In March 2017, the parliamentary police committee was told that a total of R1.1billion had been offered as compensation for the Marikana massacre. SAPS Brigadier Nashwee Sewpersadh, an acting Deputy Director-General, added that there were claims for loss of support, amounting to R179-million for 325 claimants. There were also claims for wrongful arrest, assault by police, malicious prosecution and detention.
Families have also made repeated demands for Ramaphosa to apologise for his personal involvement, which they believe led to the deaths of the mineworkers.
At the Farlam Commission, which concluded in 2014, various speakers, including advocate Dali Mpofu, accused Ramaphosa of instructing the police to use violence.
Speaking at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral earlier this year, Ramaphosa announced that he would visit Marikana with EFF leader Julius Malema, as she had wished. Ramaphosa said he would be guided by her spirit when he visited Marikana.
However, the families’ expectations of meeting Ramaphosa next Thursday were dashed. His spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said the president would be in Namibia for the SADC summit over the next week.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is holding an annual commemoration service at the Koppie on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Nolundi Thukuzani, the first wife of Mphangeli Thukuzani, who was killed in the massacre, called on Ramaphosa to apologise directly to the affected families.