Marikana last hopes
WE ARE past the blaming stage on who should take the fall for the tragic and unnecessary deaths at Marikana. That is what businessman and Lonmin shareholder Cyril Ramaphosa wants us to believe.
He argued at the weekend that there were "few innocents" in this tragic saga. He is right.
But the persistent problem is that the striking mineworkers suffer from a lack of leadership as rival unions will not swallow their pride and work together for the good of all workers, the mine and the SA economy.
The two unions who should be at the centre of resolving the dispute - the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of the Mining and Construction Workers Union - seem to have no strategies to resolve this impasse.
The lack of leadership had partly resulted in the miners taking up arms and rejecting pleas from unions to stop protests before the killings.
As the nation waits to see how the issue will be resolved, a call has been made that leaders of the unions should influence the workers to report to work as negotiations over their demands continue.
The poor response from workers indicate one thing: they do not trust their leaders.
Now, it is incumbent on the NUM and Amcu leaders to rise above their narrow political differences and find a solution that will prevent the miners losing more than they have already done.
What is preventing the NUM and Amcu to be part of a collective solution to this problem indicates they are placing political differences over the rights of workers.
Rather than standing for the workers, they are guilty of failing to do their jobs. It is almost as if they too are on a strike.
Marikana has shown us that if left to fester, any long-standing dispute will spiral out of control.
But the management of Lonmin and its shareholders also need to think long-term.
Having had such a protracted strike, can they clearly say it was worth the rands they sought to protect by failing to meet the workers at least halfway with their wage demands?
What about the company's loan obligation it is about to breach if the workers do not return to work? What about productivity losses?
But even after the massacre, and an admission by Ramaphosa that there are few angels in the saga, there does not seem to be a sense of urgency to resolve the problem.
Now, the workers have pinned their hopes on Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
We hope she succeeds.