23 August 2017

 

SUMMARY:  The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has become critical of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s visit to the site of the Marikana Massacre yesterday, which is viewed as an attempt to get political mileage.  The Union says that the Marikana koppie is a sacred space where workers lost their lives in the struggle for economic emancipation, and that the proper protocol must be followed to ensure that the necessary respect is paid to those who were affected.

 

Yesterday AMCU received reports from the Lonmin Branch leadership that a motorcade led by presidential hopeful, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma arrived at the koppie where the Marikana Massacre took place on 16 August 2012.  The Branch leadership engaged with the delegation and indicated that they are not welcome at the site, before the right steps are followed in order to gain permission of the widows and families of the slain workers, as well as the arrested and the injured (survivors of the Massacre).

 

AMCU condemns attempts by any politician or political party to use the Marikana Massacre of 2012 in order to score political points.  Just last week DA leader Mmusi Maimane was also denied access to the site and advised to attend the official Fifth Commemoration event which took place on Wednesday.  Maimane complied and attended accordingly.

 

AMCU puts forward that a place where 34 workers have died, should be regarded as sacred ground.  Such places, especially in the African tradition, should be approached with the greatest of respect.  In this regard, respect would mean proper consultation with the families of those whose blood was spilled at the particular place.  AMCU holds that the deceased workers were not family members of those in the motorcade, but rather they were the loved ones of their widows and families, as well as the comrades of their co-workers and union leaders.  The same goes for those who survived the Marikana Massacre – those who were arrested, injured and traumatised by the events of that fateful day.

 

The AMCU Lonmin Branch reportedly advised Dlamini-Zuma to use the official communication channel of the AMCU National Office, so that AMCU can obtain a directive from the widows and families of the slain workers.  This would show respect and ensure that such a visit has the blessings of all stakeholders.

 

AMCU remains convinced that, five years later, the wounds are still raw.  The dead must be respected and the truth has yet to surface.  AMCU insists that justice has not been served.  Until the compensation is paid to the families, until the police officers and those who gave the command to kill, are prosecuted, and until the cases against workers are withdrawn, there will not be closure and healing.

 

AMCU has again warned any political party to refrain from using the fateful events of 16 August 2012 to gain political traction – especially leading up to the upcoming elections of the ruling party.  AMCU advised any organisation wishing to visit the site and pay respect, to follow the correct protocol by using the official channels of communication.  This channel would be the AMCU National Office.  AMCU will then consult with the regional and branch structures as well as the affected family members and the legal representatives of the survivors, to first gain their mandate on the way forward.