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The Buffalo in Marikana massacre

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

They call President Ramaphosa "The Buffalo" for a reason. You can draw a straight line between Lonmin, the Marikana massacre and the buffalo.

Thirty-four miners died while the financial interests of Lonmin, one of the revenue streams that made him wealthy enough to bid R18-million for a buffalo, were being protected.

From one of the National Union of Mineworkers founders to Lonmin shareholder, he lost his humanity somewhere along this journey.

Why are we OK with being led by a man who is blatantly attempting to buy the forgiveness, if not the silence, of Marikana widows before he'll deign to meet with them? It is a sorry excuse to hide behind Mama Winnie Mandela not accompanying him due to illness.

Six years later, now Ramaphosa wants to be accompanied by Malema in order to trade on Julius's appeal among the working-class majority.

A leader worth the name would have visited a long time ago, and perhaps even returned periodically to ensure that the living conditions of the families of the deceased, as well as all workers, are taken care of.

Were he contrite about his role in the massacre, the president would be in Marikana on the 16th. The day is such a significant rupture in our democratic project, he ought to have declared a day of remembrance, reminding us all of the cost of putting economics ahead of human dignity. I suspect that none of this has been done because, in our post-Zuma haste, we chose to lock Marikana in a dark cabinet in the recesses of our memories so we could gorge ourselves on Ramaphoria.

By letting the president off the hook, we align ourselves with the greed and callousness that led to the massacre, and in so doing, we dishonour the memory of our fallen compatriots.

Busisiwe Langa


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