'Friends of the ANCYL' in new Marikana clash
A NEW battle has erupted at Marikana, this time for the hearts and minds of the workers who are still nursing the trauma of losing their colleagues.
At the centre of the feud is the question: who has the right to organise a memorial service for the 34 killed when the police opened fire on striking miners last week?
The "Friends of the ANCYL", led by expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, claimed the miners have given them the mandate to organise a memorial service.
"The workers have asked us to organise a memorial service for their slain colleagues, which will happen tomorrow (today) in Marikana," said suspended ANCYL spokesman and member of "Friends of the ANCYL" Floyd Shivhambu.
The announcement about the memorial follows reports that the striking workers had vented their anger at the inter-ministerial committee led by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane. The workers apparently rejected the committee's offer to organise a memorial service.
However, yesterday the committee announced that a different memorial service for the dead would be held today in Nkaneng - an informal settlement outside Marikana, where some of the miners lived.
"The memorial service is organised by the inter-ministerial committee in conjunction with the Marikana mayor, religious leaders and the miners," said spokesman Harold Maloka.
Yesterday, Shivhambu also announced that they had "organised a team of lawyers" to defend the more than 200 miners arrested in connection with the violent protests at Marikana.
He said the lawyers had agreed to represent the miners pro-bono (free of charge).
The "Friends of the ANCYL" have also helped the families of the dead miners to lay charges of murder against the police.
This is despite the fact that President Jacob Zuma has announced his intention for a judicial inquiry into the deaths of the miners.