The Marikana probe will tell us nothing we don't know
THE Marikana Commission of Inquiry started yesterday and will run for four months.
The cost of the whole thing is estimated between R50-million and R70m.
There is something unethical and troubling here when you consider the fact that last weekend the families of those who were murdered were given food parcels.
Yes, the commission will spend more than R50-million and the families of those who died for a living wage are given food parcels. This is simply not right.
South Africa is a country where the rich prey on the weak and poor.
The Marikana massacre is now another opportunity for retired judges, lawyers, advocates, researchers and NGOs to make names and money. Others are already shooting films, others organising conferences and books. It's a terrible feeding frenzy.
The only people who will not eat are those who died for a living wage. Sowetan reported that "hundreds of unemployed young men and women from Eastern Cape, who 'assisted' with the strike still have nothing".
This shows that the whole Marikana massacre was a community protest for a better life.
Now most of the unemployed will go back to the barren Eastern Cape to be ravaged by hunger and poverty.
But the government has set aside money for a commission but not compensation for the affected. This is where this whole thing becomes an evil money making scheme.
A principle should be established that no one should make money out of the misery of others.
A good start would be to insist that of the 45 families whose beloved were murdered, each share the equivalent of the cost of the commission.
If the commission costs R50-million, let the families also be given a start of about R1-million each.
There is also the question of what will this commission actually do? Didn't we all see what happened in our television sets?
Didn't investigative reports by organisations such as the September National Imbizo and other journalists show what happened?
Don't we know the underlying causes?
Don't we know already that workers demanded a living wage, the mining bosses called the ANC to its defence, and the ANC sent special forces that opened fire and killed scores of men, most shot in the back?
What the government and its alliance partners like Cosatu should be doing is simply to ask for forgiveness from society and then proceed to impose a blanket R12500 as a minimum wage in all the major sectors as an honour to the mineworkers who were murdered so publicly and brutally.
Secondly, if the government cared for the people, it would insist that all mineworkers become owners of mines and participated not only in digging gold and platinum but the profits and management.
The report of the commission will tell us nothing we don't know.
We can only hope that some sense of guilt will prevail and they will recommend compensation to the value of the commission for the children and families of those who died for demanding what is promised in the our Constitution.
But I doubt they will.