Union pulls out of Marikana commemoration

2013-08-15 17:05

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will not take part in the Marikana commemorations.

“The decision is based on the fact that there was consensus between the NUM, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), Solidarity, Uasa, and various other stakeholders, including the mining companies, that the deputy president of the country Kgalema Motlanthe’s office would organise the commemorations,” NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said in a statement.

“The organisation of these commemorations has since been hijacked by the so-called Marikana Support Group and the programme filled with only opposition political parties,” he said.

The commemoration to mark the deaths of 44 people during a wage-related strike at Lonmin’s Marikana mines will be held tomorrow.

34 mine workers were killed on August 16 last year when police fired on them while trying to disperse and disarm them.

10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed the preceding week.

Lonmin workers went on an unprotected strike demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.

They gathered at a hill near Nkaneng informal settlement carrying weapons, such as pangas, spears, knobkerries, and iron rods.

Seshoka said the good intentions of Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa were “muddied” by what he described as the unilateral hijacking of the commemorations.

The NUM initially welcomed Mathunjwa’s invitation to its president, Senzeni Zokwana, to the commemoration. He asked Zokwana to share the stage with him in an attempt to ease tensions in the platinum belt.

Several violent deaths in the area following the Lonmin strike have been blamed on rivalry between Amcu and the NUM.

Lonmin signed an agreement with Amcu this week, recognising it as the company’s majority trade union. The agreement set a threshold of a 30% membership for any trade union to be recognised by the company.

Membership of the NUM, which used to be the majority union, has dropped to 20% of Lonmin’s workforce.

Seshoka said the mining sector had always been a multi-union environment where smaller unions with as little as 3% membership coexisted with the NUM irrespective of its majority.

“The NUM saw it fit to not be party to these commemorations as well as to desist from organising separate commemorations as these may fuel tensions.”

At a news briefing on Tuesday, it emerged that workers had asked Amcu, their legal representatives, the SA Council of Churches (SACC), and the Marikana Support Group to organise the event.

SACC president Bishop Johannes Seoka said the organisers wanted the event to be peaceful and inclusive.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.