Has state made amends for Marikana massacre?

Miners forge ahead with lawsuit against Sibanye, Ramaphosa

Siviwe Feketha Political reporter
At least 34 mineworkers were gunned down by police while 78 were injured.
At least 34 mineworkers were gunned down by police while 78 were injured.
Image: Daniel Born

Questions on whether the government had done enough to acknowledge its central role and make amends to better the lives of the victims of the 2012 Marikana massacre continued to take centre-stage on Monday as the country marked nine years since the tragedy.

At least 34 mineworkers were gunned down by police while 78 were injured. They were striking over wages in Rustenburg, North West.

The government has been accused of protecting and colluding with Lonmin mine in the platinum belt to protect private commercial interests, leaving victims out in the cold and with no convictions for the police who killed the miners.

Speaking during the hybrid Marikana massacre commemoration, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa reiterated his lament at how the victims of the massacre had been abandoned by government.

Police minister Bheki Cele had disputed allegations that the government had abandoned the Marikana victims as he said it had paid them R176m.

Legal representative of the injured and arrested mineworkers, Adv Dali Mpofu, dismissed Cele’s report as “deceptive”, as he said the money was too little for the hundreds of affected miners.

The miners had been paid between R300,000 and R400,000.

Lonmin sold the mine to Sibanye-Stillwater in 2019, with the new owners and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a director and a shareholder at the time, now facing a lawsuit from the miners.

Mpofu said some of the miners had set aside R1m of the money they had received as compensation for the lawsuit.

Mpofu said legal teams of all those affected by the massacre had agreed to take on Sibanye and Ramaphosa and that they had already approached the North West high court.

“I have spoken to all the legal teams. We have now asked the deputy judge president to set down the case against Mr Ramaphosa and Sibanye and we expect it might be today or in the next few days to get a response as to when that case will happen. It will be in that case that we will not only be simply asking for money but also what I call a non-pecuniary compensation in the form of apologies and undertakings that this will never happen again,” Mpofu said.

Advocate Teboho Mosikili, a trustee of the Amcu Massacre Trust, said much work had been done and completed in the project that was undertaken by the trust to build houses for the victims of the tragedy.

Mosikili said while the project had continued to eSwatini, houses were yet to be built for Lesotho victims due to Covid-19 restrictions.

According to Mosikili, the trust had already built houses for the victims and their families in Sterkspruit, Dutywa, Lusikisiki, Mqanduli, Vanderbijlpark, Xhora, Mthatha, Ngqeleni, Libode, Tsolo, Lady Frere, Mount Fletcher, Cala, Ntabankulu and Bizana

Mosikili pointed out that the trust aimed to assist all 44 victims of the Marikana massacre, including the families of the police who had died.

“We have made a promise that we will not discriminate. At the end of the day it is the blood of a black man that was spilt on that day. That is the bottom line,” Mosikili said.

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