Mineworkers feel betrayed, says UDM

2013-03-21 14:11

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Rustenburg - Most mineworkers feel neglected by the government and are joining opposition parties, UDM Secretary General Bongani Msomi said in Marikana on Thursday.

"The feeling of those workers is that the government of the day has let them down," Msomi said during a Human Rights Day event near the koppie where police shot dead 34 Lonmin miners on August 16 last year.

"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.”

Msomi said although the United Democratic Movement 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.

UDM president Bantu Holomisa was expected to speak at the event later on Thursday. Members of organisations, including the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the SA National Civic Organisation, would also attend, he said.

Police officers in several vehicles watched as workers, dressed in yellow UDM T-shirts, marched and sang in an open space near the Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana.

One group 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.

Most workers had umbrellas to shield themselves from the hot Rustenburg sun.

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.

- SAPA

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