While standing in line at Teba Bank (recently renamed Ubank) waiting to send money back home to his mother, three children and four other relatives in Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape, Xolani Nzuza’s phone rang.
After a brief chat, he turned around and marched out of the bank. Fuelled by venom and anger, the mine worker forgot about his bank transaction and rushed out to make phone calls.
“I was just sick to my stomach when I heard [President Jacob] Zuma was going to release the report at 7pm. I heard about this at 3pm. How were we supposed to organise anything?”
Even though Nzuza and hundreds of wounded and arrested Marikana mine workers took the president to court two weeks ago – to force him to release the Marikana report immediately – none of them thought he would do it like he did.
“We had to run around trying to find a place to watch his address, or at least listen, and then we ended up in the Lonmin boardroom with a dead TV. That’s what he wanted.”
Like many other mine workers, Nzuza, who was Marikana strike leader Mgcineni Noki’s second-in-command during the 2012 strike, is dissatisfied with the recommendations of Farlam’s report.
“That thing is what we spent two years of our lives waiting for.
“It simply came out protecting all the ANC officials, saying they don’t have blood on their hands. Then who does?” he asked.
“Everybody else has been freed except the miners. Our evidence and statements have been disregarded in favour of those of the SA Police Service.”
Nzuza, who was a lookout for the striking mine workers on that fateful day, was at the top of the hill when police first opened fire on his colleagues. And then he just ran.
On Thursday night, Nzuza’s anger – after hearing snippets of the report that President Zuma read – was palpable.
Nzuza does not understand why the president did not return to Marikana, as he had promised when he announced that there would be a commission into the 44 mine workers’ deaths about three years ago.
“He stood there and said once the commission was done, he would come back and hand the report to us. It just goes to show that he only wanted us out of his sight,” he said