No state of emergency - presidency

2012-09-17 14:19

Johannesburg - The presidency denied on Monday that there is an undeclared state of emergency in place to deal with labour problems in the mining sector.

"There is no question of a state of emergency," said presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.

Earlier on Monday, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa asked President Jacob Zuma - in an open letter - to lift the "undeclared state of emergency" that appeared to be in place in Marikana.

"We call on you to lift this undeclared state of emergency government has imposed on Marikana in order to ensure that we do not lose sight of the labour dispute at hand," Holomisa wrote.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was deployed in the area on Saturday, barely a month after 34 people were killed in a violent confrontation with police.

State of emergency declaration ‘unnecessary’

Last week, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told journalists in Pretoria government would "deal very swiftly" with illegal protests.

The situation at the mines did not, however, warrant the declaration of a state of emergency, he said.

On Monday, African People’s Convention president Hlabirwa Mathume said in a statement the security cluster's response to the mine protests was likely to make the situation worse.

"We do not need a state of emergency imposed on us by a democratically elected government," he said.

Maharaj said: "When it [a state of emergency] is declared a number of your civil liberties are suspended, and that is not the case."

The civil liberties of striking workers arrested recently for contravening the Illegal Gatherings Act had not been impinged on, he said.

"It is to ensure nobody engages in any illegal act, intimidation, violent threats, or violence."

Salary negotiations hampered - Holomisa

As such, it protected protesters and miners who wanted to work.

In his letter, Holomisa said the crackdown on illegal gatherings hampered salary negotiations as it made it impossible for workers to discuss the matter among themselves.

"By denying the workers an opportunity to gather peacefully, government plays into the hands of the employers, who might use this to divide the workers," Holomisa said.

Maharaj said it was not impossible for the striking miners to meet, provided they did so peacefully and unarmed. They would, however, need to seek permission to meet.

When asked whether this was not somewhat laborious, Maharaj replied: "Is it laborious to ensure no violence takes place?"


Freedom Front Plus spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said in another statement the president was constitutionally bound to inform Parliament if the SANDF was deployed to help police deal with a situation.

"In such a case section 201(3) of the Constitution is clear that the President has to inform Parliament immediately with reasons, the place where, the number of people involved, and the period for which the defence force will in all likelihood be used."

Maharaj said the Constitution did not require Zuma to inform Parliament prior to deployment.

"The legislation does not require permission from Parliament, it only says that he must inform them."

Section 201(4) stated: "If Parliament does not sit during the first seven days after the defence force is employed... the president must provide the information required... to the appropriate oversight committee."

As the SANDF was deployed on Saturday, Zuma was still within the time allowed in terms of the legislation.

"The steps that government is taking are to ensure that nothing illegal is done, to protect the rights of strikers, and those who want to go to work.

"We will never remove rights that our people enjoy, won through the long freedom struggle.

"The president is deeply concerned about their [the protesters'] plight and committed to leading them to a better life," Maharaj said.

  • dewald.galjaard - 2012-09-17 14:30

    F me. Give me some novacaine.

      procold2 - 2012-09-17 14:35

      africa, dont panic while the country goes down in flames

      mihaip007 - 2012-09-17 15:18

      holly crap - we better run: the country IS in a state of emergency!!!!!!! okay the rule is that when they deny, then it is the opposite..! They read the dictionary a while back when they were in the university during apartheid and they misunderstood the meaning of "deny"..! the new meaning has been passed down through various degenerative people like malema...!

      edward.patterson.923 - 2012-09-20 14:22

      It is a dangerous precedent to deploy soldiers to deal with people on strike.

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-09-17 14:32

    If I remember, Captain Smith of the "RMS Titanic" said somthing similar after the iceberg strike.

  • stefan.kruger.1297 - 2012-09-17 14:33

    Obviously the people in control will say its not necessary to declare state of emergency... because they all live in fancy houses while the Miners Die, and now that this whole Miners story is getting to our economic growth and effecting us so much that Australia is calling sanctions... So pretty much they taking our Government on because they need us for the minerals... But our government is way way too chilled spending money on dust while our kids DIE IN THE RUST!!! One thing that I would love to tell the Government... is that WE ARE AWAKE and AWARE of what you are doing, and trust me when I say this will bite you in the @ss sooN!!! Even if it means I have to die for my country... but mark my words

      Rajesh - 2012-09-17 14:43

      australia calling sanctions? explain.....

      stefan.kruger.1297 - 2012-09-17 14:45

      Here you go!! read the whole article!! Kinda Crazy! - 2012-09-17 15:48

      Australia is not calling for sanctions, an ultra rightwing white power party (with no seats in parliment) in Australia is.

  • Leonard Mokgotlhwe - 2012-09-17 14:50

    Some criticize JZ for deploying army and police we feel safe that is good move thank U my President

  • tshepo.maganedisa - 2012-09-17 14:50

    Its funny when DA asked for soldiers to be deployed in WC they were told to go to hell and now marikana less violence compared to Cape Flats soldiers are deployed, who deployed them no one knows, did the president authorised the deployment no one knows, even himself he doesnt even know if soldiers were there - speak of leadership *sigh*

      ricus.nieuwoudt.9 - 2012-09-17 20:52

      What we need is a Leader with Hindsight, Insight and Foresight!

  • luke.dekoker - 2012-09-17 15:31

    mac maharaj is like zuma keep on making non-delivery promises; "The president is deeply concerned about their [the protesters'] plight and committed to leading them to a better life,"??? a real "democratic country".

      cathy.dejongh.5 - 2012-09-17 16:27

      Mac Ha Ha Mac Ha Ha Mac Ha Ha Mac Ha Ha Mac Ha Ha Mac Ha Ha

  • christina.setloboko - 2012-09-17 16:29

    wonder what they talk about when gathering since they've been gathering for weeks now.

  • jason.marshall.1804 - 2012-09-20 22:26

    "It is to ensure nobody engages in any illegal act, intimidation, violent threats, or violence." - Malema written all over this one. Is it coincidental that it has been enforced till after the presidential elections?

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