This letter goes out to all and sundry, with particular attention to those that would like to pay lip service to reconciliation and healing. We bring those concerned to the recent aversions by the National Chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC), who indicated that people should not use funerals for political expediency.

This is particularly more importantly directed to leadership of different institutions and organisation across the political and social partner spectrum. When empathy is used as cannon fodder for callous agendas it becomes disingenuous in the absence of concrete corresponding action. Promises that are made in front of excited crowds become tantamount to mendacity if there is no intention or expeditious program to action them.

The Marikana Massacre commemorated its fifth anniversary in 2017, two years after the release of the Farlam Omission of Inquiry. A civil suit process was instituted by the families of the victims and to date the State has not committed to compensation.

Those involved have not provided public apologies, except recently, when the Hon President indicated in his question response session to SONA that he was sorry for what happened. As a union that has been championing justice for the victims of Marikana we viewed the SONA debate as a huge step towards the final closure of this dark chapter in our modern history.

We released a media statement welcoming the commitment to healing after the Marikana Massacre, as posited by President Ramaphosa in the question-response session following the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and we recorded our willingness to meet and work with the President in pinning the way forward as mandated by our members.

We were unpleasantly surprised in the recent address at the funeral of our struggle icon and heroine Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela that the State President has courted the leadership of the EFF to nicodemusly go and apologise to the widows of the Marikana Massacre.

We are concerned about this none comital statement by the State President that is never translated into action since the SONA in February 2018.

Our immediate response to this marriage of convenience between the President of the ANC and the EFF is that victims of Marikana will not and should not be used as instruments to mend relations between the two political parties.

To contextualize this accession, it is important to remind the nation that the Marikana Massacre was an offshoot of a workplace dispute which involved labour and business. The murdered workers on 16 August 2012 were 34, however, there are current members of AMCU that were wounded and some that suffered severe psychological and emotional distress as a result of this incident.

Close to 30 000 Lonmin workers, who are today members of AMCU were touched by this incident one way or the other. It is therefore short sighted for the leadership of both political parties to think that they can approach the widows of the Marikana Massacre as a wholesome extension of the olive branch.

As a union we envision that the apology should be all-encompassing focusing on the length and breadth of victimisation of workers’ by involving the state apparatus in a labour dispute.

We believe that the approach taken by the President’s pronouncement is narrow and does not meet the expectations of AMCU in its current format.

AMCU is an apolitical organisation that does not affiliate to any political formation. To this end we do not have preferences between political parties as we treat all of them the same.

We are worried therefore by this narrative which seeks to project the EFF as closer to AMCU than any other political party. The suggestion that the EFF leadership can provide access to the widows of the Marikana victims is misleading and an underhand attempt to undermine AMCU in this reconciliation process.

We urge the President to review this approach forthwith considering the issues raised in the paragraph above.

There is organised labour (AMCU, which represent the majority of employees in Lonmin) of which we have direct access to a plethora of victims of this unforgettable incident. Our members eagerly await this apology.

As a reminder to the State President, the EFF does not have organisational rights at Lonmin nor does it have access rights to AMCU. There are institutions of State such as the DMR and Department of Labour that can facilitate this process from a cabinet perspective.

AMCU will welcome such overtures. However, we stand opposed to a flyover approach that seeks to bypass AMCU for quietly behind the scenes apologies session to the ‘widows’ of victims of Marikana massacre.

We view the process initiated by the President in serious light as a stepping stone to reconciliation and finding closure to this matter. Our members have been persecuted, victimised and vilified because of the Marikana Massacre.

To pay lip service to this process by opening old wounds with no intention to genuinely close them will be inhumane to say the least. We therefore commit to work with the President if he is serious about embarking on a healing process.

We emphasise that we do not need the EFF or any other political party to mediate this engagement as we are open to participate in a process that involves direct stakeholders, with Lonmin, institutions of State and organised labour.

We view this healing process as broader that the President’s apology which might require the leadership of the SAPS tendering their own apology as well.