PARLIAMENT, October 9 – President Jacob Zuma has said he would not declare a commemorative day to mark the killing of miners at Marikana five years ago, as the most effective way of honouring the victims was to take practical steps to improve the lives of mining communities.
Zuma was responding to a written parliamentary question by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.
“Government encourages all society to commemorate tragedies such as the one of Marikana in every manner possible,” he said, adding that government was duly implementing the recommendations of the Farlam commission of inquiry that probed the massacre.
Zuma said the inter-ministerial committee on distressed mining communities had done commendable work, including delivering 522 housing units, and its objectives were being folded into government’s action plan. Furthermore, mining house Lonmin had upgraded more than 2,500 of its hostels and was conducting a feasibility study for a housing development of 5,000 units at Marikana Extension 5.
He added: “We appeal to all social partners to use the lessons from the Marikana tragedy to honour the memory of the victims through practical measures to improve the living and working conditions of mining communities, which is the most effective way to honour them”.
Thirty-four mineworkers were shot and killed by police at Marikana in 2012 in the most deadly instance of police violence since the fall of apartheid.
The Farlam commission found that police officers, the mining company and unions were responsible for the killings. To date, nobody has been charged.