Contrary to popular belief, the ANC on Monday said industrial relations in the mining industry have improved in South Africa since 34 striking miners were killed at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana, North West.
Monday marked exactly nine years since the tragic Marikana massacre of 16 August 2012.
As the country commemorates the anniversary of the massacre, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and many other organisations have paid tribute to those who were affected by the event.
The ANC released a statement as well, saying the event will “remain a dark spot on our democratic society and a constant reminder of the distance we must continue to travel as we strive to build a truly economically inclusive, equal and just society.”
While acknowledging that the event happened under the watch of its governance, the party said that it was taking comfort in that industrial relations have improved since the event.
“We are heartened to note that stakeholders – workers, employers and the state – have taken to heart the harsh lessons learnt from Marikana. As South Africans, we must make a solemn pledge never to allow the eruption of another Marikana,” read the party’s statement.
“The ANC stands with every widow, mother, father, son and daughter, brother and sister who lost a loved one during that entire period.
“We shall endeavour never to forget their memories. As the governing party, we acknowledge that the fateful events of Marikana occurred on our watch.”
Ramaphosa’s promise to visit Marikana still unfulfilled
The tragic event took place when President Cyril Ramaphosa was a non-executive director on the board of the Lonmin mine.
At the time, Ramaphosa demanded that “concomitant action” be taken against the striking miners, and referred to them as “dastardly criminals.”
He was heavily criticised for this.
In 2017, he apologised for his words and the manner in which the events unfolded, as well as the language he used.
In 2018, during a eulogy delivered at struggle icon Winnie Madikizela Mandela’s funeral, Ramaphosa said he would visit the families of those who died at the hands of police during the event.
“We could not go because you were not well. You are gone now,” said Ramaphosa.
Widows blame Ramaphosa’s for snarl-up in justice
The widows of those who died in the tragic event have blamed Ramaphosa for the snarl-up in justice for the victims.
“We have unanswered questions as widows that are aimed at the president Ramaphosa,” one of the widows said on Monday during the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) commemoration ceremony.
“Where is the remorse for our children, where is the remorse for the workers, where is the remorse for the whole community of Marikana where this tragic event occurred?”, questioned one of the widows.
“The koppie is hugged by the dark cloud. Our husbands spirits are not resting in peace. People are walking over their spirit. Why are you not caring about the death of our husbands?”