Marikana action to end violence - Zuma

2012-09-16 17:07
(Denis Farrell, AP)

(Denis Farrell, AP)

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Johannesburg - Law enforcement measures undertaken in Marikana were aimed at ending violence and intimidation, and not at undermining civil liberties, the presidency said on Sunday.

"Government action in Marikana is directed at ensuring that citizens exercise their rights peacefully and within the ambit of the law, as would be required in any democratic country in the world," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

"Government cannot allow a situation where people march in the streets carrying dangerous weapons."

The government would never take away the constitutional rights of South Africans, but it could not allow people to incite violence or intimidate others, he said.

Workers had the right to engage their employers on wages and working conditions, and the state was not taking sides in the dispute.

Intimidation

It was only intervening to end the violence and intimidation.

Living conditions for workers on the platinum belt remained unacceptable, Zuma said.

The poor and working class remained the government's priority.

"We urge the mining sector to play their own part by immediately ensuring compliance with the Mining Charter, which includes the provision of single occupant hostels and family units," he said.

There were still hostels where 166 people had to share four toilets.

"Mining companies and the trade unions must urgently discuss and resolve the issues," he said.

Zuma extended his condolences to the family of National Union of Mineworkers shop steward Dumisani Mthinti.

Mthinti, who was found hacked to death in Marikana last week, was the 45th person to be killed in violence related to the Lonmin mine strike.

Gauteng Economic Development MEC Nkosiphendule Kolisile said on Sunday that he was concerned about the turbulence at mines in the province.

Some of the mines experiencing unrest were Gold Fields' Kloof and Driefontein mines on the West Rand, and Gold One International in Modder East, Ekhurhuleni.

"The department of economic development recognises the conditions of work in the mining sector as well as the persisting challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment in our province," he said.

He appealed to all stakeholders, particularly mining houses and workers' representatives, to reach a speedy resolution.

The department would continue to consult stakeholders and reaffirmed its commitment to inclusive economic growth and decent jobs.

- SAPA

Read more on:    lonmin  |  gold fields  |  jacob zuma  |  nkosiphendule kolisile  |  mahikeng  |  mining unrest
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