SA Council of Churches condemn living, working conditions in Marikana

Bishop Jo Seoka says four years down the line, living and working conditions in Marikana have not improved.

FILE: A child walks through a muddy road in Nkanyeng Township in Marikana, Wednesday 8 April 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Council of Churches' (SACC) Bishop Jo Seoka, says four years down the line, living and working conditions in Marikana have not improved despite promises from mining bosses and government.

Seoka played a key role during the wage negotiations in 2012, during violent protests at the North West platinum mine, which left 44 people dead.

Hundreds of people have gathered in Marikana today to mark four years since the mass shooting.

Bishop Seoka says he's disappointed by the lack of the development in Marikana, four years after protesters were gunned down by police.

"We don't see any sustainable development in this place that we can be proud of. Actually these commemoration events are like putting salt into the wounds, even though we're trying to comfort the widows, orphans and comrades of the workers."

Seoka has been a firm supporter of the mine workers since 2012, maintaining that they have never been violent.

He also became a mediator during wage negotiations and testified during the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

Seoka will be joined by other key role players including Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa later today to commemorate those who were killed here four years ago.


While the SACC says mining bosses and government have failed to deliver on their promises, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) says the African National Congress (ANC) has the blood of 34 miners on its hands.

The EFF's advocate Dali Mpofu, who represented the miners, says the governing party has not only failed the people of Marikana but all South Africans.

"[They've failed them] whether it relates to compensation, ensuring that miners' windows are cared for or even an apology on the part of government."


Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has sent condolences to the families of the miners killed at Marikana four years ago.

The minister was speaking outside the Cabinet Lekgotla, which is being held at the presidential guest house in Pretoria this week.

Radebe says Cabinet has noted the anniversary.

"On this sad day we remember the families of the bereaved who died during a tragedy. As a government, President Jacob Zuma initiated the Farlam Commission which made recommendations."

He says government is in the process of implementing all the Farlam Commission's recommendations.

"Among the recommendations was the issue around the national police commissioner. As you know there is a legal process unfolding. Secondly, issues around public policing capacity were raised and the minister has already set up a team of experts."