Marikana strikers killed people, Zuma tells EFF’s Napoleon

2015-06-23 17:06
Picture: Leon Sadiki

Picture: Leon Sadiki

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President Jacob Zuma has defended the actions of the police in Marikana, saying they were preventing the strikers from killing more people.

Zuma was today addressing students and Soshanguve community members at the Tshwane University of Technology, north of Pretoria, when he was heckled by a lone Economic Freedom Fighters member, who questioned why police killed Marikana mineworkers.

This was after Zuma appealed to students not to use violence during student protests. During last year’s violent protests at the Soshanguve campus, 18 cars were torched and millions of rands in damages was caused.

“Napoleon”, a known EFF member and rabble-rouser, shouted: “But police killed people at Marikana.”

As Napoleon shouted at Zuma, the president turned his attention to the bearded man and responded: “But those people in Marikana had killed people and the police were stopping them ... that’s what you must understand.”

The altercation revealed Zuma’s views on the Marikana massacre ahead of him releasing Judge Ian Farlam’s report next week.

Less than an hour earlier, as the campus hall where Zuma was to speak was filling up, ANC and EFF supporters clashed, leaving outnumbered EFF members bruised and their clothes torn.

As Zuma was conducting his Siyahlola presidential monitoring programme at another campus, police had a difficult time separating members of the South African Students Congress, which is affiliated to the ANC Youth League, and EFF supporters.

Police confiscated weapons, mainly sticks and stones, from both groups and asked the EFF group to protest outside the security fence away from the venue. Both groups had been singing derogatory songs about leaders of the ANC and EFF – Zuma and Julius Malema.

Calm returned after the police created a human barricade between the two groups and kept a close eye on them.

However the EFF supporters, who had earlier threatened to disrupt Zuma’s speech by asking when he would pay back the Nkandla millions, were silenced because only a few supporters were allowed to enter the venue during Zuma’s speech.

Napoleon was also part of the EFF group that heckled Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last year. Ramaphosa testified at the Marikana Commission in Centurion about his role in the Marikana shootings, which left 35 mine workers dead. Napoleon was removed from the venue a few minutes after Zuma concluded his speech.

As security officers pushed him out the door, he could be heard shouting “pay back the money”, in relation to the Nkandla debacle, where R246 million was spent on Zuma’s private residence.

Zuma addressed more than 3000 people who crammed into the campus hall to listen to his speech.

During his speech, Zuma appealed to the youth to take control of their lives and refrain from using alcohol and drugs.

If he could, Zuma said, he would force unemployed youths to study at colleges far away in an “island” and not release them until they passed and were skilled enough to enter the workplace.

This is not the first time Zuma has courted controversy over remarks that teenagers need be kept at colleges far away from the cities.

During the 2009 election campaign Zuma repeatedly called for troublesome teenagers, including pregnant teenagers and the “boys” who impregnated them, to be forced into colleges to acquire skills.

“I have strong views about education. If I had my way I would create colleges on islands so that those who don’t want to go to school will be taken there ... and not come out until they qualify,” said Zuma, whose comments were met with laughter and applause.

“I’m sure in a decade or two our country would be different,” said Zuma, as deputy ministers Mduduzi Manana, Inkosi Patekile Holomisa, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Pam Tshwete and Andries Nel, who accompanied Zuma on the Siyahlola visit, watched.

He promised to help many TUT students who were without accommodation and said the government and the TUT management were working together to renovate dilapidated student accommodation on the campus.

Read more on:    jacob  |  marikana

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