Zuma ‘makes up for’ Marikana absence

2012-08-22 20:16

ANC President Jacob Zuma used the James Moroka Centenary Lecture to reach out to Lonmin mine workers whose 34 colleagues were killed by police during a strike in Marikana last week.

He promised to announce details and members of the judicial commission of inquiry into the Marikana deaths before the end of the week.
Zuma seemed to be making up for the absence he was accused of when he visited only the injured miners at the hospital on Friday.

Before going to Mahikeng to deliver the lecture he met survivors of the Marikana violence for the first time in the area where the shooting took place.

“I have now listened to all sides, but I will not judge the incident,” he said. “The judicial commission that we have set up will uncover the truth about what happened at Marikana. It must tell us how an industrial strike degenerated into violence.”

Zuma, who maintained that he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the Marikana killings – both of the 10 people killed on different days after the beginning of the strike and the 34 who were shot dead by police last Thursday – said this week is “not a week to apportion blame or (for) fingerpointing. It is a week for unity and to support the bereaved families.”

In his lecture Zuma acknowledged that mine workers were still working under difficult conditions coupled with poor living conditions.

“They remain among the poorest in our communities. This industry is a backbone of our economy and we must make sure its growth also benefits workers and communities they (mining companies) operate in,” said Zuma. “It should not be such an industry that has the lowest paid workers.”

Zuma said he was particularly talking about the mining industry because “we are commemorating a president who presided over the militarisation of the ANC. What we are seeing (in the mining sector) is a continuation of the freedom of expression that was started by the ANC.”

Zuma said the Mining Charter was meant to help improve miners’ working conditions. He said some of the demands government has put to mining companies include upgrading hostels into family units, maintaining the ratio of one person per room and facilitating housing ownership by the year 2014. In addition, mining companies need to report annually to government on compliance with the Mining Charter.

Zuma said a government audit conducted last year among North West platinum mining companies found that there was only a 50% compliance with providing decent accommodation to mine workers. “One company has got a hostel accommodating 166 workers who have to share four toilets and four showers among them. Mining companies know non-compliance means losing licensing rights.”

Zuma said it was sad that a strike for better wages and living conditions was marred by violence that resulted in the loss of life. He mentioned a strike by Impala Platinum mine workers at the beginning of the year that was “also far from peaceful”.

The James Moroka Centenary Lecture was one of the few where Zuma managed to command overwhelming support that showed clear signs of the drive to secure him a second term in Mangaung. Around 3 000 people attended the lecture. Chairpersons of provinces known to back Zuma for re-election descended on Mahikeng in a show of support. The Free State’s Ace Magashule and his secretary, William Bulwana, and also KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Zweli Mkhize and his secretary, Sihle Zikalala, attended the lecture.

Two Botswana political parties, the ruling Botswana National Front and Botswana Movement for Democracy, sent representatives to attend the lecture.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Sales Representative- Knysna

George - Knysna
George Employment Consultants
R15 000.00 Per Month Per Month

Key Accounts - IT

Southern Shore Recruitment
R15 000.00 - R25 000.00 Per Month

Audit Senior / Bookkeeper to Trial Balance

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Placement Point (Pty) Ltd
R15 000.00 - R21 000.00 Per Month

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.