Govt maintains mine presence - committee

2012-08-24 09:40
Striking Lonmin miners. (Booysen Thamaga, Sapa)

Striking Lonmin miners. (Booysen Thamaga, Sapa)

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Malema mouths off at memorial

2012-08-24 08:40

During the memorial service on Thursday, former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema accused the government of not doing anything for the 34 slain miners at Marikana. WATCH. WATCH

Johannesburg - An inter-ministerial committee looking into the violent protests at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, said on Thursday it would maintain its presence there.

"Government will continue to maintain a presence in the area until all families have been provided with the necessary support and assistance required," it said.

It also said its members had attended a memorial service on Thursday in support of the bereaved families and workers.

Thirty four people were killed and 78 were injured when police shot at striking workers near the mine last Thursday. Another 10 people were killed in violent protests in the preceding week.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association on Mining and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted increased wages.

Political points

"The memorial service started out peacefully until it unfortunately degenerated into a party political platform," the committee said.

It said its presence demonstrated the government's empathy and commitment to help the bereaved families.

During the memorial service, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said people should not seek to score political points from the tragedy.

"These are God's people, we need to respect the dignity and sanctity of their lives," he said.

A few men, introduced as community leaders, were invited to sit on the stage in a marquee erected for the service to honour the dead miners in Marikana.

The crowd started murmuring and whispering when an Amcu leader arrived with a group of men, some carrying sticks.

Several political leaders attended the service. Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was seen holding hands with United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and suspended ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa.

The mourners had been asked to hold hands during a prayer to show their unity.

Government officials in attendance included Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi, North West Premier Thandi Modise and Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khonou.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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