Nzimande slams 'biased' media reporting on Marikana

2015-07-08 16:25
Dr. Blade Nzimande

Dr. Blade Nzimande

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Johannesburg - The media was biased in its reporting of what happened in Marikana before and after the shooting of the 34 striking minerworkers in 2012, reducing it to union rivalry, SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday.

"[The] capitalist, right-wing story-line has attempted to simply reduce the tragedy to a case of intra-union rivalry - Amcu versus the National Union of Mineworkers," Nzimande told SACP members gathered at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus for the party's special national congress.

"This is a replay of the old apartheid-era 'black on black' violence propaganda. It is a story of 'mindless' blacks bashing each other. We reject it outright."

The party welcomed the report by retired Judge Ian Farlam following a commission of inquiry into the shooting.

The commission was tasked with investigating the deaths of 44 people during a violent strike at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana, near Rustenburg, North West, on August 16 2012.

A total of 34 people were killed by police, 78 wounded, and 250 arrested on August 16, 2012. Ten people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed during the previous week.

The SACP welcomed Farlam's recommendations that steps be taken to inquire into the fitness of the National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and then North West provincial commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo to hold office.

Nzimande however criticised the media for creating a narrative that showed the striking miners as fighting Lonmin, government and NUM, which "justified" any violence towards NUM officials.

"We must care about all the workers, before and after August 16. Let us not trade the blood of one section of the working class against the other."

He listed five NUM officials at Lonmin who were killed in the months and days after the shooting and the following year once the commission of inquiry had started.

Shop steward Dumisani Mthinti was killed on September 11 2012 and branch secretary Daluwayo Bongo was killed on October 5 2012 before he could testify before the commission, Nzimande said.

Four other officials - Mbulelo Nqetho, Nobongile Nora Madodo, Willem Setelele and  Percy Richard Letanang - were killed the following year in June, August, October and November respectively.

"The blind eye turned to this ongoing violence by the pseudo-left narrative, and the delay in prosecuting the perpetrators of murder and violence while the commission was underway, contributed to a sense of reckless impunity in some quarters in the Marikana area," Nzimande said. 

But NUM had learnt a lot from then, he said. It was now undergoing introspection and self-correction about its own structural challenges.

He praised NUM for not seeing the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) as an enemy and urged the two parties to work together against mining monopoly capital.

"While a degree of inter-union rivalry over membership might be inevitable, we call on Amcu and its members to work cooperatively in a common front of struggle against mining monopoly capital."

Read more on:    sacp  |  blade nzimande  |  johannesburg  |  marikana

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