‘Sangoma also to blame’

2012-08-22 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The sangoma who supplied muthi to mineworkers that made them believe they would be invisible and immortal must be called to account, said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

In the parliamentary debate on the Marikana mine tragedy yesterday he agreed with ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe, who said that while the families of ignorant, and now deceased, mineworkers are mourning the loss of loved ones, exploitative sangomas are wealthier today.

It was a strangely subdued parliamentary caucus of the ANC that tried to come to terms with the opposition’s criticism while clearly remaining loyal to their Cosatu partner, the mineworkers’ trade union NUM.

Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu blamed the trade union Amcu’s illegal strike for the problems.

She said the government will negotiate only with trade unions that can control their members properly — this after being accused throughout by opposition members of having fuelled the situation by her unwillingness to negotiate with anyone but the NUM.

Mthethwa, speaking in a very controlled manner despite the growing pressure on him to resign, said the tragedy could have been prevented if all those involved had followed the prescriptions of the Constitution.

He asked for people to refrain from trying to apportion blame, but for South Africans to work together with dignity to rise above the events, and for the soon-to-be-appointed judicial commission to be given a chance to do its work.

Meanwhile, the ministerial task team, of which he is a member, will visit the mortuary and help the mourning families with the issuing of death certificates and with funeral arrangements.

The paying out of death benefits to family members and the organising of the main national memorial service, which will be held in Marikana tomorrow, are also the task team’s responsibilities.

ANC chief whip Dr Mathole Motshekga emphasised the difficult conditions in which mineworkers work, and that once again it was black people in SA who had to bear the brunt of it. He asked for political attacks to stop during this time of mourning, and immediately proceeded to attack Dr Wilmot James of the DA.

The DA’s Lindiwe Mazibuko asked for the quality of the information on which the police’s action had been based to be examined, while FF-plus leader Dr Pieter Mulder said that while the police cannot be blamed, their training must be improved.

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