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#EWNDebate: Political affiliations to blame for Marikana - Vavi

Vavi says the Marikana commission didn't investigate the causes leading up to the deaths on the platinum belt.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, former Cosatu General Secretatary Zwelinzima Vavi and Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa at the EWN Marikana debate on 29 June 2015. Picture: Leeto Khoza/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - In the wake of the Marikana report's release, an appeal has been made to union leaders to put aside individual gain, and fight for the rights and dignity of the workers they represent.

Union leaders, analysts and interested parties have been discussing the findings of the Farlam commission of inquiry at a special Eyewitness News debate.

The report found the police's operation on the day 34 miners were gunned down on 16 August 2012 was defective and recommends an inquiry into national commissioner Riah Phyiega's fitness to hold office.

Many at the debate believe the executive must be held accountable for the massacre.

The Marikana Support campaign's Rehad Desai said the commission's report fell short of expectations.

"Nowhere does he come to the very basic conclusion, that most intelligent in South Africa understand, that this was an operation simply to break the strike."

Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) former general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said union leaders needed to be reminded of their responsibilities.

"The unions have been speaking too much politics, too much alliance, too much national democratic revolution/Marxism and less and less about conditions or work and ages. And that's what created the Marikana situation.

Vavi said one of the biggest lessons that should be taken from the 2012 Marikana massacre is that unions needed to go back to basics to fight for better working conditions and wages for workers.

He said the commission failed to investigate the fundamental causes leading up to the deaths on the Lonmin platinum belt.

Vavi said political affiliations were to blame.

"There was a gap clearly. The reason why the strike broke out in the first place is that there were genuine grievances on the part of mineworkers who felt unrepresented."

LEGAL BATTLE

Marikana mineworkers and the families of those killed in the 2012 massacre at the Lonmin Platinum Mine have told their lawyers not to rule out launching an international court bid for justice.

Lawyer for the arrested and injured miners, advocate Dali Mpofu, said they have not ruled out approaching the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The workers were on Sunday addressed by lawyers and their union, the Association of Mineworkers & Construction Union (Amcu), on the contents of the Marikana report.

They voiced their anger at the exoneration of ministers Susan Shabangu, Nathi Mthethwa and then Lonmin shareholder, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Lawyer James Nichol appeared for the miners and families at the commission and said calling an international judge to hear evidence was not unheard of.

"There is a new commission commencing very shortly and the head of the commission comes from New Zealand. There is no reason at all why commissioners cannot come from outside of South Africa. It happens in the United Kingdom and other countries."

The lawyers told workers they would continue consultations every week and announce their planned action soon.

To read the full Marikana report, _ click here_.

To read the highlights from the president's report _ click here_.

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