'Marikana must never be repeated'

President Jacob Zuma says 16 August must be treated as a day of prayer and reflection.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma answers questions in parliament. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has urged government, mining companies and communities to do everything in their power to prevent a repeat of the Marikana tragedy.

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Marikana killings during which 34 miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on striking miners.

The miners were demanding better salaries.

Zuma's spokespman Mac Maharaj said the President has called for reflection to restore peace in the mining industry.

"President Zuma says he wishes to call upon all South Africans to treat 16 August as a day of prayer and reflection. Pray for the families of all who lost their lives in Marikana. We must all resolve to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of similar incidents."

Meanwhile, the sister of one of the police officers who was killed during the violence, says all families should receive equal sympathy and not just those of slain miners.

In the days leading up to the shooting, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed in strike-related violence.

Warrant officer Tsetsi Monene was hacked to death with a panga on 13 August last year.

His sister Elizabeth Mauba said her family still has no sense of closure with several questions remaining unanswered.

She questioned why her brother was hacked beyond recognition for just doing his job and said she believes something must have pushed the police to take the action they did on the day of the shootings.

"The world must sympathise with both of us. We are feeling the very same pain. They've lost their loved ones and so did we."


Police are still searching for those responsible for the latest murder at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

A female shop steward affiliated to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was gunned down outside the Rowland shaft on Monday.

The platinum belt has been marred by violence in recent months. Rivals unions continue to blame each other for the unrest.

There has been an intense rivalry between the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) since last year, chiefly over majority recognition at Lonmin mines.

Lonmin confirmed on Wednesday that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) is the majority union at its platinum mine and represents 60 percent of its employees.

They agreed on the framework for this year's wage talks and the role Amcu will play going forward.

The agreement outlines the thresholds required for basic rights for unions.

Lonmin have agreed to give workers the day off on Friday to mark the anniversary, as long as they forfeit a day's pay.