The widows of the Marikana miners who were killed by the police nine years ago in a labour dispute have begged President Cyril Ramaphosa to be compassionate and make August 16 a public holiday in honour of their husbands. Picture: Reuters.
The widows of the Marikana miners who were killed by the police nine years ago in a labour dispute have begged President Cyril Ramaphosa to be compassionate and make August 16 a public holiday in honour of their husbands. Picture: Reuters.

Marikana widows say Ramaphosa must honour their husbands by making August 16 public holiday

By Itumeleng Mafisa Time of article published Aug 17, 2021

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Johannesburg - The widows of the Marikana miners who were killed by the police nine years ago in a labour dispute have begged President Cyril Ramaphosa to be compassionate and make August 16 a public holiday in honour of their husbands.

Speaking at a commemoration event in Bryanston on Monday, Ntandazo Nokamba’s widow Nosakhe Nokamba said the wives lamented that their husbands’ memory had not been honoured.

Ramaphosa had also promised to apologise to the widows for the ruthless manner in which the 34 miners were gunned down by the state.

The widows also complained that their husbands’ souls could not rest in peace because no monument had been erected at the site.

Ramaphosa, who was a director at mining company Lonmin, has faced criticism over his role in the 2012 murder. He sent an email at the time of the labour dispute to officials to take concomitant action against the miners who had gone on a prolonged wage strike that had turned violent.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) held two events simultaneously at the Koppie in Marikana and in Joburg because of Covid-19 restrictions.

A wreath-laying ceremony at the Koppie was done by some of the miners who had skipped work.

“My son, whose father died when he was 11 years, asked me if I am going to work. My son asked why he should go to school when we are remembering our fathers. We have questions as families that we are directing to the president of the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa. When will you have compassion because of our children? When will you have compassion because of workers? When will you have compassion over Marikana? Our husbands’ souls are not resting,” Nokamba said.

The miners have set aside R1 million to pursue a court challenge against Ramaphosa and Lonmin. Led by senior counsel Dali Mpofu, the miners and widows want to force the president through the courts to apologise for the deaths.

The EFF also confirmed that it would pursue private prosecutions if the NPA did nothing about the charges laid against some government officials at the Marikana police station nine years ago.

Party leader Julius Malema said suspects included the president and the former minister of mineral resources, Susan Shabangu, and then police minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“It was the Marikana massacre which was necessitated by the greediness of the current president of the ANC and of the country, who called for concomitant action against our people who were characterised as criminals by the former minister of minerals and many others at the time.

“We never saw criminals, we saw hard-working workers who were demanding R12 500 to feed their children. Till today justice has not been served. We opened a case at Marikana police station and till today they have not been questioned, to make things worse one of them is now occupying the highest office in South Africa,” Malema said.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa appealed to Sibanye Stillwater to relieve the widows working at the mine of their duties and to allow them early retirement.

He said it was traumatic for the widows to work in the same shafts as their husbands did before the massacre.

Mathunjwa said he was shocked by the greed and lack of compassion that had engulfed South Africa’s mining industry.

The Star

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