EIGHT years after the Marikana shooting, President Cyril Ramaphosa is yet to visit the area as promised.
He made an undertaking at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral in 2018 to visit the widows of those who died on that fateful day. Two years later it is still not clear what it will take for him to visit the area.
It was on the 16th of August in 2012 – a tragic day that marked the dullest moment in South Africa’s democratic dispensation, that mineworkers at Lonmin embarked on an unprotected strike demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.
34 mineworkers were killed after being shot by heavily armed police. In total, 44 people were killed amid the strike action and close to 80 wounded.
This prompted then Lonmin non-executive director Cyril Ramaphosa, to call for a concomitant action against the striking miners.
Although cleared by the Farlam Commission set up to investigate the shooting, this has since become an albatross on his neck and his presidency.
Ramaphosa has tried to explain his position but it seems this is simply not enough.
”I was only trying to stop further deaths from happening, 10 workers had been killed and my intervention was to say there is a disaster looming, more workers are being killed and are going to be killed. My role was to stop further deaths from happening.
“Some of the workers had been hacked to death and their eyes gouged out and their hearts ripped out and that horrified me and yes I may well have used unfortunate language in the messages that I sent out and for which I apologised and which I am apologising but I didn’t have the intention of having the other 34 miners killed,” stated Ramaphosa.
The president has still not fulfilled his promise, something that had irked the union and lawyers representing the widows of the departed mineworkers.
For at least 6 years after the incident, Marikana has not been a friendly place for the African National Congress (ANC)-aligned National Union of Mineworkers which Ramaphosa once led. It was only last year that the union visited the area for its commemoration.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) held a commemoration on Sunday in remembrance of the mineworkers who were killed in 2012.