MAC: Mines and Communities

South Africa: Ramaphosa's "atonement" for Marikana massacre

Published by MAC on 2018-02-22
Source: New24, Daily Maverick

In "atoning" for the Marikana massacre, South Arica's new president Cyril Ramaphosa says he'll address the role he himself played in "the darkest moment" of post-apartheid life, as a director of the British mining company Lonmin.

- And thereupon, completely fails to do so.


South Africa: Ramaphosa 'Determined to Atone' for Marikana Massacre


20 February 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa is determined to play whatever role he can in the process of healing and atonement in the wake of the Marikana massacre.

"The Marikana tragedy stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy," Ramaphosa told both houses of Parliament on Tuesday as he responded to the debate on his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Friday.

During Monday's debate, EFF [Economic Freedom Fighters] chief whip Floyd Shivambu said Ramaphosa must go to Marikana to build houses and improve the lives of the people there. Ramaphosa was a non-executive director of the mining company Lonmin when police opened fire on striking mineworkers, killing 34 people on August 16, 2012.

Ramaphosa wrote a series of nine emails to other Lonmin executives and then minister of police Nathi Mthethwa and Susan Shabangu, who was then minister of mineral resources, in the days leading to the tragedy, calling for "concomitant action" against the striking mineworkers in one of the emails.

A commission of inquiry, established to investigate the massacre and headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, did not make a finding against Ramaphosa.

"Members will recall that the commission of inquiry headed by retired judge Farlam investigated the direct and root causes of the tragedy," Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

Mining communities in distress

"Three broad areas were identified for action: compensation to those injured and the families of those who lost their lives, examining the procedures of public order policing and preparing valid cases for prosecution according to applicable laws."

He said the government was making progress in continuous engagement with the legal representatives of the victims, especially on the matter of reparations to families who lost their loved ones, and this would be concluded in the coming months.

"The incident also brought into sharp focus the distress felt by people living in mining communities.

"As we engage with mining companies, unions and communities on the finalisation of the Mining Charter, we need to ensure that these measures
receive priority attention."

"I would like to use this opportunity to address the role that I played in my capacity as a Lonmin director in the events of that tragic week," he

"Notwithstanding the findings of the Farlam Commission on my responsibility for the events that unfolded, I am determined to play whatever role I can play in the process of healing and atonement. In this, I am guided by the needs and wishes of the families of the 34 workers who lost their lives."

He said that as with Marikana, the Life Esidimeni tragedy [health care scandal] stands out "as an instance of the appalling dereliction by the state of its duty to the people".

"We welcome the arbitration process led by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke and are determined that we should never allow anything like this to happen again in our country."

South Africa: Mining Charter - Ramaphosa to the Rescue - but Community Voices Still Ignored

By Rebecca Davis

Daily Maverick (extract)

20 February 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa's personal intervention in the current impasse around the controversial Mining Charter has been greeted with relief and optimism by industry players. One of Ramaphosa's first presidential moves was to negotiate the postponement of court action, slated to start on Monday, aimed at setting aside the charter. But members of community groups directly affected by mining say that - as has become the norm - their views on the matter were ignored.

The members of more than 150-based community organisations were eagerly anticipating Monday, February 19 - the day they expected to finally have
their say in court about the much-debated Mining Charter, a document which they maintain has failed in each of its three iterations to reflect the views of people who live around South African mines.

But, over the weekend, an agreement was struck between government and the mining industry, at the personal behest of President Cyril Ramaphosa.



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