Poor service delivery constant reminder of empty promises for Marikana residents

On this day seven years ago, 34 miners were gunned down in the North West during a strike over wages.

FILE: Miners gather during commemorations to mark the fourth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre in Rustenburg on August 16, 2016. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Poor service delivery is a constant reminder of government’s empty promises to the Marikana community.

It’s been seven years after the massacre that ripped the town apart. On this day, 34 miners were gunned down in the North West during a strike over wages.

The fallout was massive, and a commission of inquiry was set up to investigate events leading up to and after the killings and made recommendations.

Retired Judge Ian Farlam headed the inquiry into the massacre. It investigated, among others, training of officers and the use of force by police. But despite the completion of its work in 2018, the police ministry had not made the findings public.

Retired judge Farlam spoke on the Bongani Bingwa show on 702 on Friday.

He denied claims that politicians were exonerated.

“I don’t think we can be blamed for the fact that there were no prosecutions. As far as politicians are concerned, it was said that we exonerated everybody and the priest. That was not true. The evidence was very inconclusive. We left that open.”

To date, only eight officers were charged in connection with the shootings. Today, mining union Amcu will hold its yearly event at the Koppie to remember those who died.

But an activist from Marikana told Eyewitness News she feared 16 August would become just another yearly commemoration because very little had changed in her community over the past seven years.

After the tragedy, Primrose Sonti, who is also an EFF MP, mobilised women in the mining town and formed the organisation Sikhala Sonke.

She described her struggles to bring change to the community.

“I’m telling them every time to listen, but it’s because I work for the EFF. Maybe if I had worked for the ANC it would be better. I don’t know.”

Sonti vowed to continue her fight for the community of Marikana, despite the challenges she had faced over the past few years.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)