JOHANNESBURG, August 11 – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has no intention of attending next week’s commemoration of the Marikana massacre and he never indicated that he would so, the presidency said on Friday.
The presidency was responding to assertions by the leader of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) Joseph Mathunjwa that “those who lost their loved ones” in the Marikana massacre did not want Ramaphosa to be part of Wednesday’s commemoration event.
Thirty-four miners were gunned down by police five years ago at Lonmin Platinum Mine during a protracted violent strike.
Although Ramaphosa was cleared by the Farlam Commission of any wrong doing, accusations that he encouraged the police to act in a heavy-handed manner continue to linger. The deputy president, who was a shareholder of Lonmin at the time, has been heavily criticised for calling on police to take “concomitant action” against the protesters.
On Friday Tyrone Seale, acting spokesperson for the deputy president said: “Reports to the effect that Deputy President Ramaphosa has indicated his intention to visit Marikana on the anniversary are incorrect”.
Seale said Ramaphosa was committed to being part of the initiative proposed by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, which will culminate in the deputy president making an apology to affected families for the words he used regarding the request for police action.
“The feelings and wishes of the Marikana community and the families of the victims are of paramount importance in this sensitive process,” said Seale.