Marikana: The wounds that will not heal

2017-08-20 06:02
 Aisha Fundi, the widow of Hassan Fundi, says those who are relatives of the ‘non-34 group’ of people killed in Marikana continue to be victimised. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

Aisha Fundi, the widow of Hassan Fundi, says those who are relatives of the ‘non-34 group’ of people killed in Marikana continue to be victimised. Picture: Tebogo Letsie

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Silent but bitter rifts have deepened between the widows and relatives of the 46 victims of the Marikana tragedy.

The loved ones of those killed before the massacre say while the 34 mine workers gunned down by police are well commemorated, their families are forgotten.

Aisha Fundi, widow of Hassan Fundi, a Lonmin protection services supervisor hacked to death allegedly by striking miners four days before the massacre, believes this is why tension and unease continue to thicken across the platinum belt.

“Tension is far from over in Marikana and Lonmin. Union rivalry is not getting any better. But how do we end this when we can’t even bring the widows of the 2012 victims together?

"We’re divided in grief as widows: those allegedly killed by striking workers and the bigger group killed by the police,” she said this week.

“I don’t understand why this is allowed to happen when we have all lost our loved ones so tragically. How do we even start to heal?”

The divisions were apparent during the sitting of the Marikana commission, which saw the widows seated far apart.

“We were not there when our husbands were killed, yet we hate each other.

"There has been no attempt to unite us and this was an opportunity missed which could have set the wheels of forgiveness and reconciliation in motion,” Aisha said.

“This reconciliation could have flowed to find places in the hearts of all the people involved.”

Hassan was buried without his lips and tongue which were slashed off after he was hacked to death with his colleague Frans Mabelane.

A witness at the Farlam commission of inquiry testified that the two men had pleaded for their lives.

Despite this, Aisha says she is ready to forgive his killers and allow the law to take its course.

“I am desperate for closure, ready to forgive although it will not be easy to forget, but some of us want to put it all behind us.

"It is sad that there is a deafening silence for those killed by the same people who are glorified so much today.”

As City Press spoke to Aisha at her Rustenburg home on Thursday, we received a call that a union leader had just been shot dead in broad daylight in Marikana around noon.

Mzingisi Mzendana, a former branch chairperson of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Association (Amcu) in Wonderkop, had left the union and returned to the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

Several members of both NUM and Amcu have been killed over the years on the platinum belt as union rivalry escalated after Amcu’s membership soared and the NUM was unseated as the majority union after the Marikana tragedy.

Fundi says this will not end any time soon “because there is very little preaching of the spirit of tolerance and freedom of individuals to join their union of choice”.

As part of Lonmin’s programme to replace their slain employees with their relatives to ensure the families continued to have some income, Aisha joined Lonmin’s human resources department after failing to convince her son to take his father’s place.

“My son did very well in maths and science and Lonmin was willing to finance his university studies but he refused, saying accepting this would mean that at some point he would work for the company and walk the ground where his father was heartlessly killed.

He wanted nothing to do with Lonmin and joined the navy,” she said.

“I joined Lonmin but it has all been nothing but misery from the looks I get from some colleagues.

"I am labelled as one from the other group, the non-34 group, because those allegedly killed by strikers are seen as the opposition,” she said.

“I feel that I’m being hurt beyond my husband’s death and if I had a choice I would leave this job but I have a family to feed.”

Lonmin spokesperson Wendy Tladi said the mining company has always spoken of the 44 Marikana victims.

“We have been commemorating August 2012 incidents as the week that changed our lives,” she said.

Read more on:    lonmin  |  amcu  |  num  |  marikana

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