Zuma to visit Lonmin

2012-08-17 11:05

President Jacob Zuma is coming home today to visit the site of the mine massacre in Rustenburg that cost 45 lives this week.

He will be heading to the Marikana mine this afternoon.

Zuma will cut short his attendance of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit in Maputo, Mozambique in order to visit Rustenburg this afternoon, 17 August 2012, a government statement said.

A dispute at the Lonmin Marikana mine in Rustenburg has claimed several lives since last week, culminating in the tragic shooting of armed protesting strikers on Thursday.

“The president asked the new SADC chairperson President Guebuza of Mozambique and his colleagues the SADC heads of state and government to release him so that he can go and attend to the matters at home.

“The president is concerned about the violent nature of the protest, especially given that the Constitution and labour laws allow enough avenues to deal with issues, and is sympathetic to calls for a commission of inquiry,” the statement said.

Zuma was receiving hourly reports on the massacre of mineworkers at Lonmin’s Marikana mine while he is attending the opening ceremony of the summit.

There is no need for deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe to replace him as he will have finished his role at the summit by the time of his return.

A source close to Zuma says the president sees the situation as “a very sensitive matter” and is paying close attention to it.

At the summit Zuma is due to hand over the chairpersonship of the SADC troika on peace, defence and security to Tanzania.

The opening ceremony of the summit was under way at noon on Friday and Zuma is due to hand over the reports on Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the new incoming chair.

He will then leave the summit to tend to the situation at Marikana.

It is not clear whether he will visit the site or whether he will call the main parties to Pretoria.

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