Govt maintains mine presence - committee

2012-08-24 09:40

Johannesburg - An inter-ministerial committee looking into the violent protests at Lonmin's Marikana mine, in North West, said on Thursday it would maintain its presence there.

"Government will continue to maintain a presence in the area until all families have been provided with the necessary support and assistance required," it said.

It also said its members had attended a memorial service on Thursday in support of the bereaved families and workers.

Thirty four people were killed and 78 were injured when police shot at striking workers near the mine last Thursday. Another 10 people were killed in violent protests in the preceding week.

The protests were believed to be linked to rivalry between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association on Mining and Construction Union over recognition agreements at the mine. Workers also wanted increased wages.

Political points

"The memorial service started out peacefully until it unfortunately degenerated into a party political platform," the committee said.

It said its presence demonstrated the government's empathy and commitment to help the bereaved families.

During the memorial service, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said people should not seek to score political points from the tragedy.

"These are God's people, we need to respect the dignity and sanctity of their lives," he said.

A few men, introduced as community leaders, were invited to sit on the stage in a marquee erected for the service to honour the dead miners in Marikana.

The crowd started murmuring and whispering when an Amcu leader arrived with a group of men, some carrying sticks.

Several political leaders attended the service. Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema was seen holding hands with United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and suspended ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa.

The mourners had been asked to hold hands during a prayer to show their unity.

Government officials in attendance included Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi, North West Premier Thandi Modise and Rustenburg mayor Mpho Khonou.

  • loo.steyn - 2012-08-24 09:53

    I hate the way people and media use the word " Violent protest" as if it's just another legal form of protest... PEOPLE lets wake up,, violent protests should be called " Criminal acts of violence" .. And I fail to understand why violence in RSA is an accepted way of expressing your unhappiness.. Come on people .. stop this pity for people that clearly was more than willing to kill others.

      djgmaestro - 2012-08-24 11:16

      Guns kill people

  • nkulekweni - 2012-08-24 09:59

    Whilst the bosses are sipping champagne and whilst they can no longer walk in the sun without an umbrella being held by some menial over their heads, our people people are being used as slave labour. Profitable plantations in the Caribbean in the mid to late 17th century had an income whose value in present day terms is £10,100,000.00. or R120.000.000.00. The income was high because slaves were not paid. They were just fed the bare minumum to be able to continue providing their labour. In the platinum mines of South Africa, the predominantly white mine managers earn R20 000 000.00 a year. The miner, in order to be able to feed himself the bare minimum that will enable himself to continue providing his labour earns R60.000.00 a year. I am not a communist but even I can see that there is something completely obsene about this. And surely even those who have, for centuries, been taught that black lives are worth nothing, have that little bit of humanity inside them to recognise the absolute obsenity of these practices. This includes black people themselves, especially those who walk in the massacre fields, in shoes worth a miner's salary, under umbrella's held against the inconvenient sun by their many sycophants. These Africans,who from the 16th century sold other blacks as slaves and who only know how to survice by eating other black people.

      loo.steyn - 2012-08-24 10:02

      WOW . .dude . .do you even know that the actual fight was between two unions cause the "new" union was attracting an older union's members ???? I have nor problem with arguing facts .. but plse dude at least then ,, GET the facts

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-24 10:08

      Exactly Loo. It seems everyone has forgotten how this all started. It was a "battle" beteween two unions. Why do reports keep saying the miners attended a memorial service? I just read an article on News 24 that said the "mourners" all ran to the tent set up by Malema and didn't bother with the memorial service.

      loo.steyn - 2012-08-24 10:22

      Kala . .Exactly mate .. look , we all know this is a Political GEM for the Malema party. And the actual truth does not provide for political gain. So its only natural for RSA politics to use peoples raw emotions to achieve their hidden agendas. The politicians like Malema feels nothing for the "people" ITS all about power mate ...

      nkulekweni - 2012-08-24 11:00

      Hi Loo I have read that the fight began because of the rivalry between the two unions. However, going back to you strong encouragement that people should stick to facts, I have also read in the Mail and Guardian that the new union was set up by mine management to weaken NUM. That does not detract from the fact that the miners are striking because of the conditions under which they are forced to work to earn a living. It also does not detract from the fact that the gap between management's salaries and the miner's salaries is obsene. It also does not detract from the fact that instead of government fat cats enriching themselves through stealing tax payer's money and being bought by mine management they could be legislating for better working conditions and pay for miners. What has changed substantially for miners since apartheid? I despise people who, through lack of imagination and creativity, make their money through selling other people be they slave traffickers or government ministers such as Cyril Ramaphosa who was given a BEE deal with the promise that he will work towards improving the conditions of mine work and be they presidents who have so much contempt for black people that they happily facilitate their continued exploitation and their lack of development.

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