CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Tuesday the Marikana mine shooting has shamed the entire country.
She participated in a special debate in the national assembly on Tuesday, where the violence and 44 deaths were discussed.
Shabangu said the fatal clashes must serve as a sobering reminder that the mining industry has a long way to go before all its problems are solved.
“We can use this tragedy to undo many of the wrong practices that still marks the mining industry, which will be a monument to the fallen at Marikana.”
Meanwhile, some opposition Members of Parliament (MP’s) have labelled the shooting a national embarrassment.
Many have called for the scope of a judicial commission of inquiry into the incident to be expanded.
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader, Bantu Holomisa made a startling claim.
“One wonders whether a plan to ambush workers had not been carefully crafted.”
Congress of the People (COPE) president, Mosiuoa Lekota, said the police's actions were unwarranted.
“This was something that was avoidable.”
The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Lindiwe Mazibuko, said painful questions need to be asked.
“Who authorised the use of live ammunition?.”
But Police Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, told MP’s, officers did all they could to avoid bloodshed.
He defended officer’s actions.
“It is our responsibility as individuals and as a nation, to ensure that it does not happen again.”
Meanwhile, religious leaders called on communities to return to God, during a special memorial service honouring the mineworkers who were killed.
MPs packed the Old Assembly Chamber on Tuesday, to pay their respects to those who lost their lives during the shooting.
Religious leaders said people must come first, rather than politics.
Clerics and leaders across the religious spectrum called for the truth, urging government to address inequalities.
One Imam said every drop of blood is more precious than an ounce of platinum.
Deputy speaker of parliament, Nomaindia Mfeketo, called for unity in a time of sorrow.
“All difficult questions must be asked and answered. Here in parliament, we will play our role.”
She said communities must come together in the spirit of peace and co-operation."
(Edited by Tamsin Wort)