Poverty led to Lonmin deaths – ANC

2012-08-21 09:24

Inequality and poverty was to blame for the death of 34 people at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, the ANC in Limpopo has said.

“The inequality gaps and extreme levels of poverty leading to the kind of socioeconomic desperation experienced by large portions of our population on a daily basis is the underlying reason,” provincial spokesperson Makonde Mathivha said in a statement today.

“Clear, unambiguous steps need to be taken by leaders, both in government and the private sector, to vigorously pursue economic transformation at an unparalleled pace if a repeat of this kind of senseless massacre is to be avoided.”

On Thursday, police opened fire on protesters, leaving 34 dead and 78 injured.

Mathivha said socioeconomic problems will never be resolved through heavily armed police.

“We join loved ones and dependants of the deceased in saluting their lives to the struggle to realise economic emancipation for hardworking, impoverished communities in South Africa,” he said.

Meanwhile, security blocked access to the Lonmin platinum mine, in Rustenburg in North West this morning.
Cars transporting personnel were seen entering the mine every few minutes.

They were the only people who were allowed access after last week’s protest action by mineworkers.

Lonmin yesterday extended its ultimatum for workers to return to their jobs this morning or face dismissal.

Lonmin mine said its objective was not just to dismiss people, but to find a reasonable solution to the situation.

Lonmin executive vice president for mining Mark Munroe told Talk Radio 702: “A deadline or ultimatum is not helping anyone. We strongly encourage people to come to work as soon as possible. There is a lot of action you can take before you dismiss someone.”

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane called on Lonmin to suspend this morning deadline.

“We hope they will understand the gravity of the situation,” Chabane told SAfm.

After discussions with mine management “we thought they [the mine] understood that”, he said.

Police were patrolling the area and assisting mine security at various access points.

From the main road in Marikana, 2km away from the mine shaft, a bus carrying workers was seen entering the premises.

Various police vehicles were also seen patrolling the Wonderkop area where miners and community members gathered yesterday.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine.

Workers also wanted higher pay.

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