Malema to mediate in Marikana?

Former ANCYL leader Julius Malema wants to help defuse tensions between Lonmin workers and management.

Lonmin miners gather ahead of Julius Malema’s visit on 18 August 2012. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema will attempt to end an illegal strike by rock drill operators at the Lonmin Mine in the North West.

At least 34 miners were killed and 78 others injured during clashes with police on Thursday.

On Friday, President Jacob Zuma had to cut short his Southern African Development Community (Sadc) trip to visit the area.

Zuma condemned the violence and promised to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the incident.

He also visited some of the injured miners in hospital.

The league's former spokesman Floyd Shivambu says Malema will try to act as a mediator between the workers and the mine's management.

For now the situation remains calm in Marikana.

The hill where approximately 3,000 striking workers have gathered since last week has now been cordoned off with barbed wire by the police.

Officers say no incidents of violence occurred overnight.

Sources from inside the township have told Eyewitness News the strikers are preparing themselves to head to the sites of Thursday shooting, where Malema is expected to address them.

Shivambu says they have come to show support to the strikers who are not prepared to give up their fight for higher wages.

Meanwhile, The South African Law Society says Lonmin management could have done more to resolve simmering tensions with its workers so that the use of violence would not have been necessary.

The society's Krish Govender says, "The responsibility of resolving the conflict between workers and management should have been the responsibility of the management and the unions."

Meanwhile, Lonmin has promised to fund the education of the children whose parents were killed in the bloodbath.