MARIKANA/GA-RANKUWA – The head of the inter-ministerial committee probing the Lonmin Marikana bloodbath on Monday announced measures that would be implemented immediately.
The North West town has witnessed 44 deaths in the wake of a week-long wage strike by rock drill operators at the mine.
On Thursday, 34 people were killed and 78 others injured when police opened fire on demonstrators.
Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and his team spent the day consulting with the injured, visiting state mortuaries and speaking to Lonmin mine management as part of their investigation.
According to the minister, the three measures his committee will implement include visiting mortuaries to support the bereaved.
The panel will also meet various stakeholders, including traditional and religious leaders, trade unions and mine management.
Finally, Chabane said government would participate in a national debate on the matter in Parliament on Tuesday.
NEW ULTIMATUM FOR MINERS
The National Union of Mineworkers (Num) called on police to ensure miners are safe when they return to work on Tuesday morning.
This after Lonmin extended its ultimatum, giving workers until 7am on Tuesday to report for duty or face dismissal.
Num said it will support Lonmin's call.
The union's Health and Safety National Secretary Eric Gcilitshana said, “We are really appealing to workers to return back to their normal workplaces.”
Lonmin management said it did not want to dismiss any of its employees, because it would affect operations at the mine.
It said officials are open to discussions with striking miners, but needed them to return to work first.
Lonmin officials said it was time to rebuild and heal its relationship with workers, and said it was committed to restoring stability.
Some 259 Lonmin mineworkers will spend the next week behind bars after they were denied bail in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The men face murder and public violence charges after they were arrested in Thursday’s shooting.
Workers will be held in various prisons while they wait for their court appearance next Monday.
Magistrate Esau Bodigelo said it was in the interest of justice that police be given time to investigate the deadly shooting.
According to prosecutors, the miners could face extra charges.
Heavily armed police officers kept a strong presence inside and outside the northern Pretoria court.
(Edited by Thato Motaung)