Marikana must make us reflect – Motlanthe

2012-09-07 13:01

The recent violence at Lonmin’s mine in North West should make South Africa think about how it approaches social and economic problems, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said.

“The tragedy at Marikana should make us all reflect on how we confront poverty and inequality through our respective institutions and organisations,” he said today.

“It also challenges us to recommit ourselves to more effective social dialogue at national and regional levels. We should strive to find a common vision to take us forward.”

Motlanthe was speaking at the annual National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) in the East Rand.

Nedlac is a government, labour, business and community organisation dealing with economic, labour and development challenges.

A total of 34 miners were shot dead at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana when police tried to disperse striking workers.

Another 10 people, including two policemen, were killed the preceding week.

Motlanthe said a judicial commission of inquiry into the shooting had “started its work”.

“Once we have the report from the commission, we will be able to deliberate fully on the events that took place and deliberate on an appropriate course of action,” he said.

“The terms of reference for the commission are sufficiently broad so as to deal with all aspects of the Marikana tragedy.”

Motlanthe said Nedlac was an important organisation. However, it needed to deal with the declining quality of participation in its discussions.

“(We need to) enhance the relationship with government to avoid the use of Nedlac as an avenue for solely putting government under pressure in the event of controversial policy and legislative proposals,” he said.

“(We must) avoid the relegation of (due) process to a talk shop by sending junior officials with no decision-making authority to represent business and government.”

Nedlac executive director Alistair Smith told the summit it was important to understand the impact the Marikana deaths had had on South Africa.

“While we are trying to make sense of it, one thing is clear, like a mirror: Marikana reflects not just one aspect of our labour markets but also a stark warning of the instability we face as a society, unless we confront our challenges.”

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