Those who call us opportunists are lazy thinkers

2012-08-25 18:13

We went to the Marikana murder scene to understand what exactly happened because since the ANC Youth League’s 23rd National Congress in 2008, we have been the only voice that spoke in defence of mine workers’ interests and aspirations.

We have used every platform, including all private and public meetings of the ANC, funerals, weddings, church services and so on to advocate for the nationalisation of mines and the improvement of mine workers’ conditions.

Those who say it was opportunistic of us to intervene and take the lead in the Marikana massacre are narrow-minded and lazy to think.

We are not opportunists, we are continuing with the struggles we have been involved in for a considerable amount of time now.

Workers called on our leadership because they have confidence in us and could not agree to allowing the Jacob Zuma administration to lead them in mourning and resolve the situation and crisis the incident has created.

Why are we called opportunists today while we have been doing similar work for years?

As many people may have seen at the memorial service and at all interactions we have with workers, we have not imposed ourselves on the Marikana workers.

We never said we want to represent them.

They said we should represent them and they are happy with the work we have done thus far.

We can never be wrong because an absolute majority of workers and masses of our people approve of what we are doing and what we say.
Our masses can never be wrong, and office-bound experts should begin to understand and accept that the people on the ground are always correct and will never falter in what they want and what they need.

The South African government is responsible for the massacre because it had the political power to stop it from happening.

How do you explain and justify the reality that rock-drill operators are paid as little as R4 000 per month in the mines?

How do you explain that mine workers reside in the type of conditions the Marikana workers find themselves in?

It is a fact that when we raised these issues with President Zuma, he ignored us and chose to frequent Britain to assure the mine owners there that the South African government will not change the conditions of workers and will not change any policy with regards to minerals management.

It is a fact that even after the ANC national general council adopted a greater consensus on nationalisation of mines, Zuma went ahead to make assurances that he won’t change any mining policy.

South Africa should begin to appreciate and understand that the president is a liability to the country and the continent.

A wiser and clearer-thinking president would have prevented the massacre from happening, through – among other things – regulation of the mining industry and appointing a more experienced national police commissioner.

Zuma and police minister Nathi Mthethwa are a huge liability to South Africa, and should step down with immediate effect because they are doing no justice to this country.

The judicial commission established to deal with the Marikana massacre will not help resolve the mining crisis South Africa is facing.

What needs to be established in parallel with the judicial commission of inquiry is another commission of inquiry that must look into the living and working conditions of mine workers, particularly their wages, with the aim of setting higher minimum wages for them.

All mines should be compelled to build decent human settlements for all mine workers, with adequate sanitation, water and

The judicial commission of inquiry, without political manipulation and interference, can help uncover the truth, but will not help to heal the pain and suffering workers are subjected to every day.

The Zuma administration is directionless and clueless on what should happen with the whole of South African society today.

We have said this and we’ll continue to say it everywhere we speak and address people of South Africa and the world.

We will continue to defend and strengthen the ANC from outside because it remains the only hope for our people.

The struggle continues.

»Malema is the former leader of the ANC Youth League. This is an edited version of his article. A full version is available at

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