Marikana: ‘time for us to pull together’

16 August 2013

The chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on Marikana, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, has called for calm, reconciliation and unity as South Africa marks the first anniversary of the Marikana tragedy.

Chabane appealed on Friday for to all stakeholders to ensure that the commemoration takes place in a climate of dignity in honour of the 44 people who lost their lives in strike-related unrest in the days leading up to and on 16 August 2012.

“We recall with shock and regret this tragic event that resulted in death, injury and destruction of property,” Chabane said in a statement. “As the nation reflects on this national tragedy, it is incumbent upon all social partners to ensure that the anniversary is a time for reflection and recommitment to peace.

“This is a time for pulling together as a nation and working collectively to ensure that, a year after the tragedy, the events of 2012 do not revisit the people of Marikana or South Africa as a whole in any shape or form.”

President Jacob Zuma has asked the country to treat the day as a time for prayer and reflection.

“I would like to call upon all South Africans to treat the 16th of August as a day of prayer and reflection,” Zuma said in a statement on Thursday before departing for an SADC summit in Malawi.

“We must pray for the families of all who lost their lives in Marikana, before and after the 16th of August. We must all resolve to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of similar incidents,” Zuma said.

The government has also called for restraint, condemning the continuing loss of life around Marikana, and calling on its social partners to help ensure the success of the Mine Crime Combating Forum launched on Wednesday.

The forum will see mining companies, trade unions and mining communities working with the South African Police Service to maintain peace and stability in the country’s mines and surrounding communities.

The launch of the forum is part of a broad range of interventions by the government and its social social partners to restore peace and stability in the mining sector.

“Government calls on all communities to support the programme of healing and peace led by church leaders in Marikana,” Chabane said. “This programme is meant to ensure peace and stability in Marikana.

“Government also supports the work led by the Deputy President working with social partners to stabilise the mining industry.”

The government, organised labour and organised business have committed to work together to restore peace and stability in the mines. A framework agreement, signed by the parties in July, provides the basis for cooperation to stabilise the mining sector and set it on a sustainable footing.

Chabane also expressed confidence in the Farlam Judicial Commission of Inquiry, appointed by Zuma, to get to the bottom of what happened during the tragic events that took place in Marikana last year.