ANC comdemns N West Marikana comments

2013-08-16 21:42
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Miners gather at Marikana

A stage has been set to hold a one-year anniversary ceremony for the Marikana killings. See pictures as miners sing, dance and gather for the event.

Cape Town - The ANC reprimanded its North West executive on Friday for "callous" remarks it made about the Marikana commemoration.

"These remarks do not reflect the views of the African National Congress as a whole and are extremely unfortunate given the still very painful memory of the suffering of the victims, families, and community of Marikana," said national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

"The ANC respects the right of anyone to organise and participate in any gathering that seeks to soothe and heal the wounds that were caused by the Marikana tragedy."

North West ANC spokesperson Kenny Morolong said in a statement on Thursday night the provincial branch, would not attend Friday's commemoration of the Marikana violence in which 44 people were killed.

"The commemoration is organised by an illegitimate team called 'Marikana Support Group' - a group which the African National Congress does not recognise," he said.

Morolong said the ANC would only participate in a commemoration organised by government, as agreed with families, Lonmin Platinum, and labour unions.

"The ANC finds it immoral and totally unacceptable that such a traumatic incident could be turned into a political playground by some political parties, who seek to enhance their political ambitions and interests," he said.

Marikana shooting

Friday marks the first anniversary of the shootings at Lonmin's Marikana mine, near Rustenburg in the North West.

On 16 August last year, 34 striking mineworkers were killed when police fired on them while trying to disperse and disarm them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence in the preceding week.

Mthembu said no person should ever seek to determine or direct how people mourned nor contest ownership of the right to mourn.

"The pain of the people of Marikana must never be turned into a popularity contest with all vying for attention and making a mockery of the real agony suffered by our people."

He said the party would seek an urgent meeting with the North West provincial executive committee to "correct" them on their views.

Asked if any ANC leaders were at the commemoration, ANC communications head Keith Khoza said he did not know who had been assigned to attend.

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