Marikana anniversary: Opposition parties take a swipe at govt, police

Yesterday marked three years since the death of 34 mineworkers at the hands of police at Lonmin Platinum.

Three years later, miners carry sticks and umbrellas not knives and pangas, as the 16 August marks three years anniversary of the Marikana shooting. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

MARIKANA - Political leaders have come out strongly against the African National Congress (ANC)-led government, blaming President Jacob Zuma and the police for all that went wrong in Marikana in 2012.

Sunday marked exactly three years since 34 miners were gunned down by police.

Ten others were killed in the days leading up to the shooting, during a violent and unprotected strike, which made international headlines.

Hundreds of community members gathered at the infamous koppie on Sunday to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.

For a brief moment, the commemoration was turned into a political rally.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema said the ANC government was behind the killings in August 2012.

"The families of those who were killed by the murderous regime led by the ANC and its brainless president."

He said the commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the shooting didn't provide answers.

"Not because Zuma wanted to do a commission; he wanted to be seen doing something. Until today, no one has been charged."

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane was just as critical about government, saying National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega should have been fired and more must be done for the families of the victims.

"We will be going to Parliament to join the fight to say the compensation fund must be set up."

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) leader Joseph Mathunjwa also called on more workers to join his union, saying it's the only way they'll be liberated.

Mathunjwa said Marikana massacre has drawn attention to the plight of all mineworkers and revealed the collusion between the state and capitalists.

He said the shootings in 2012 have revealed so much about government and the labour sector.

"The Marikana massacre is a tipping point in the history of the labour movement and highlights the toxic collusion between the state and capital in the twenty-first century."

He also said the commission of inquiry's report is a farce.

"The commission correctly put is the 'omission of inquiry'. They failed t persecutae the accountants of the Marikana massacre."

Meanwhile, Zuma said South Africa should never allow another strike to degenerate into violence as was the case in Marikana.

In a statement released on Sunday, the president said government has launched several programmes to improve the lives of mineworkers and is addressing inequality in the industry.

His spokesperson Bongani Majola said Zuma believes the country's labour movement should learn from what happened at the North West mine.

"We must commit ourselves to ensuring that never again will a strike turn so violence as to lead to such a senseless loss of lives."