Marikana: MPs call on state to compensate slain miners’ families

2015-08-14 09:32
Police stand over the bodies of the striking miners who got shot in August 2012

Police stand over the bodies of the striking miners who got shot in August 2012 (Leon Sadiki/City Press)

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WATCH: Julius Malema accuses ANC, Ramaphosa of premeditated murder at Marikana

2015-08-13 17:46

Speaking during the Marikana debate in the National Assembly on Thursday, EFF leader Julius Malema referred to the Marikana killings as the "premeditated, mass murder of workers." Watch.WATCH

Opposition parties in Parliament called on the government to compensate the families of the miners who were killed by police in Marikana three years ago.

Opposition MPs, one after the other criticised that no one in the executive arm of the government had taken responsibility for the August 16 2012 killings, and said it was even worse that the families who had lost breadwinners had not been compensated three years later.

The three ANC MPs who participated in the snap debate in the National Assembly, which was proposed and led by the Economic Freedom Fighters, sought to defend President Jacob Zuma and members of his executive.

The ANC did not field any Cabinet ministers to take part in the debate, which was quite unusual for a controversial subject such as Marikana.

Its most senior participant was Godfrey Oliphant, the deputy minister of mineral resources. The other two were MPs Francois Beukman and Connie September.

Oliphant said the widows and orphans of the Marikana mineworkers were being compensated every day.

He mentioned that the human settlements department had set aside R1 billion to provide 19 000 housing opportunities in mining towns.

Oliphant did not want to dwell on the details of what happened in Marikana saying, “the families’ case was before court so we must respect the sub judice rule”.

EFF leader Julius Malema opened the debate. He spent his four minutes attacking the ANC government and politicians, whom he said plotted the killing of the striking mine workers.

“Marikana was a murder that was facilitated in clear daylight, and under the political influence and supervision of politicians, many of whom continue to enjoy privileges of this house.”

Malema said the bureaucrats and “ground forces of this murderous regime” should not be the only ones to take the fall for the crime of Marikana.

Malema said a closer reading of the Farlam commission report revealed that the massacre of mine workers in Marikana was premeditated mass murder.

Malema said the fact that the Tactical Response Team of the South African Police Service was deployed to Marikana with live ammunition rounds was evidence enough that the intention and plan was to shoot to kill.

“What this means is that the ANC government with the influence of business politicians, in particular Cyril Ramaphosa, premeditated the killing of mineworkers in Marikana. They engaged in what is known in law as conspiracy to commit murder,” said Malema. 

This statement led to a number of ANC MPs rising on points of order to object to Malema, who simply ignored them and chairperson Grace Boroto's attempts to get him to pause and allow the objecting MPs to raise their points of order.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said the Marikana commission of inquiry’s report did not provide answers and closure for the families of the victims.

Maimane said Zuma’s failure to assign political responsibility for the massacre was indefensible.

“Not a single member of the executive, or the South African Police Service, has been held to account for the loss of life.

“But of greater insult to the families of the victims is that the report concluded that its terms of reference precluded it from making recommendations regarding compensation.

“Instead of taking a decisive stance in the interest of justice and compassion, the commission simply passed the buck,” he said.

This week the families of the 37 miners killed at Marikana filed a civil case against the minister of police claiming compensation for the loss of their relatives.

“They are not making excessive demands. They are simply asking for compensation for the direct loss they suffered in August 2012, including loss of financial support, expenses related to trauma counselling and their loss of family life,” he said.

“The irony is that the Marikana inquiry cost R153 million to reach a set of conclusions that did nothing to provide justice, closure or compensation.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party, the National Freedom Party, the United Democratic Movement, Congress of the People and the African Christian Democratic Party all called for the government to compensate the families of the Marikana victims.

The IFP’s Albert Mncwango said the Farlam report was tantamount to a whitewash.

The UDM’s Mncedisi Filtane called for the establishment of a compensation fund from which the miners’ widows and families would be compensated for the death of their breadwinners in the hands of the police. 

Cope’s Willie Madisha proposed that the families of the victims should get free housing, healthcare and education from the state.
Read more on:    julius malema  |  rustenburg  |  marikana

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