Minister defends Zuma’s UN speech

Jacob Zuma addressed UN delegates, but failed to mention the Marikana shooting.

President Jacob Zuma addresses mineworkers in Marikana, on 22 August 2012. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN.

NEW YORK - Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Thursday defended President Jacob Zuma's speech at the United Nations general assembly.

The president on Tuesday addressed the general debate on major issues of concern for South Africa, but did not mention the shooting at Marikana - an event that many labelled the worst to happen in post- apartheid South Africa.

A violent five-week stoppage at Lonmin's Marikana mine last month claimed 46 lives, including 34 miners gunned down during clashes with police on 16 August.

The incident dominated international headlines and left families without their bread-winning husbands and fathers.

Nkoana-Mashabane does not believe there was a need for the president to mention the Marikana violence in his address to UN delegates.

"Short of wanting to speculate the outcomes of the judicial inquiry [into the shooting], I don't know what else has not been said, which we've discussed publicly."

The minister said the president did not need to assure the world of South Africa's internal peace.

"He has assured people across the world from the day the incident took place. There was no cover-up whatsoever."

The UN General Assembly closes on Monday.