Massacre ‘a wake-up call for employers’

2013-01-10 00:00

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday said that last year’s Marikana wildcat strike, which claimed more than 30 lives, was a wake-up call to employers to look after the workers beyond the factory floor.

He was speaking at a business breakfast in Port Shepstone.

The breakfast was organised by the ANC as part of programmes leading up to the anniversary celebrations in Durban on Saturday.

Ramaphosa’s comments came as farm workers in the Western Cape resumed their strike for wage increases.

Comments by the Lonmin director were made for the first time on a public platform after the Marikana massacre, which is a subject of a government commission.

Last year, Lonmin workers embarked on a wildcat strike, demanding R12 500 basic salaries.

Their protests led to a tragic confrontation with police. It then emerged that workers were living in shacks despite receiving living allowances of R1 500 a month.

Ramaphosa said the allowance was an attempt to eliminate single-sex hostels, but it had unintended consequences.

Ramaphosa, who was elected as ANC deputy to President Jacob Zuma in December, also told the gathering about books he read during the holidays which argued governments failed because they did not have inclusive institutions. The authors argued that failure occurs because institutions extracted the nation’s resources mainly to benefit a minority.

He said South Africa’s apartheid government failed because of the “extractive nature of its institutions” that benefited a few.

Ramaphosa also said the National Development Plan — the country’s 20-year economic strategy — should be embraced.

“All of us as South Africans should rally behind this plan and support the leadership, institutions and policies to restore the greatness the forebears of the revolution foresaw for this country.”

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