‘Blood on Zuma’s hands’

2013-08-17 00:00

JULIUS Malema stole the show at yesterday’s commemoration of the Marikana massacre, telling the crowd that President Jacob Zuma has “blood on his hands”.

Wearing his now-signature red Economic Freedom Fighters’ beret, he got a rapturous welcome at the event that was not attended by government officials.

“JuJu, JuJu,” the crowd chanted as he arrived.

Malema said: “Lonmin and Jacob Zuma have blood on their hands. They talk about peace, but they have not given you the R12 500 they have promised to give. Lonmin will be our friends the day they pay you the R12 500 they promised to pay.”

He defied advocate Dali Mpofu’s instruction for politicians to speak for no more than three minutes, going on for more than 10 minutes and saying he should not have been invited if the organisers wanted to restrict him to three minutes.

Addressing the crowd earlier, the Reverend Joe Seoka, who was tasked with investigating the living conditions of the Marikana miners, said what happened in August last year would never repeat itself.

“Never again shall the act of violence which happened a year ago happen again. We should not use violence as language to talk to each other. Never again will workers be slaughtered like animals for protesting peacefully in demand for R12 500.

“We will get this R12 500, but we need to devote our energy to peace and not violence. We must make sure that we get it because if we don’t get it that will mean that those who were killed have died for nothing,” Seoka said.

Meanwhile, opposition party leaders criticised the ANC for boycotting the event.

Said Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele: “It’s an indication that the ruling party doesn’t care a damn about what happened. It’s a blunder for them because it is not about using the event to score political points but to sympathise with the widows and families of those who were killed.”

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi also berated the ANC for staying away.

“They are saying that opposition parties hijacked the event to score cheap political points, but they themselves are doing so by boycotting the event,” he said.

Said Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota: “People were mowed down Sharpeville-style by the police and the ANC was supposed to be with us today to unite us, but decided not to come because some of their leaders are wealthy billionaires because of these mines,” he said.

NFP leader Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi was also critical of the ANC’s stance and said she was there to listen to the widows and families of the miners who were killed.

“We want to find out what is it that we can do so that their children are able to go to school and do not go to bed on an empty stomach …”

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