Holomisa welcomed at Marikana

2013-03-21 15:44
Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and UDM leader Bantu Holomisa at a memorial service held at Marikana. (Lucky Nxumalo, City Press)

Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and UDM leader Bantu Holomisa at a memorial service held at Marikana. (Lucky Nxumalo, City Press)

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Rustenburg - Thousands of people, mainly mineworkers, welcomed UDM president Bantu Holomisa to a Human Rights Day event in Marikana, North West, on Thursday.

Holomisa arrived with senior members of his party, near the koppie where police shot dead 34 Lonmin miners on 16 August last year.

The crowd had been waiting for the delegation in the scorching sun since morning. A makeshift platform, with a powerful public address system, had been erected. There was ululating and cheering and several people ran alongside Holomisa's vehicle when it arrived around 12:00.

Earlier, United Democratic Movement secretary-general Bongani Msomi said most mineworkers felt neglected by the government and were joining opposition parties.

"The feeling of those workers is that the government of the day has let them down," Msomi said.

"They are saying government should have intervened earlier to avoid what happened at that koppie. They think that if they strengthen the opposition, maybe the government will start being responsive. The workers feel that the government is not on their side."

Farlam Commission

Msomi said although the UDM had confidence in the judicial commission of inquiry into the Marikana shooting, mineworkers were pessimistic.

"The workers are considering the responses being given by the commissioner of police (Riah Phiyega). She has now changed from the statements she uttered after the shooting. The workers have lost faith in the commissioner.

"After the shooting she said she was not apologetic, but now she is only doing it because of the pressure she is under. Now that she is under pressure, she has now somersaulted from her words.

"The workers don't understand her."

Phiyega has been testifying in Rustenburg at the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the Marikana shooting.

While waiting for Holomisa to arrive, one group of workers sang: “Holomisa biza loMalema, Siyabulalwa ngoZuma” (Holomisa bring Julius Malema, Zuma is killing us), referring to former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and President Jacob Zuma.

On August 16, 34 striking mineworkers were shot dead and 78 were injured when the police opened fire near Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana. Ten people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine in the preceding week.

Read more on:    udm  |  bantu holomisa  |  mahikeng  |  marikana inquiry
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