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Marikana victims give Ramaphosa 2 weeks to apologise, pay up

Thirty-four mineworkers died after police opened fire during a wage strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in the North West on this day eight years ago.

FILE: A cross seen on the Koppie after the massacre, as a symbol of the lives lost in Marikana. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Advocate Dali Mpofu, on behalf of clients, has given President Cyril Ramaphosa two weeks to apologise and compensate all wounded miners and the widows of the Marikana massacre.

Thirty-four mineworkers died after police opened fire during a wage strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in the North West on this day eight years ago.

Ten people were also killed a week prior to the strike, bringing the total number of those who lost their lives in Marikana to 44.

Mpofu was speaking at the Gracepoint Methodist Church in Midrand, where Amcu is commemorating the tragedy. He said the victims were more concerned about government taking responsibility for the tragedy.

“We’re going to take this matter up against him personally and against his government. If you ask me on 1 September if they have complied or not, in fact the clients are being generous, nobody must blame us about what will follow.”

Ramaphosa, who was the director of Lonmin mines at the time of the tragedy, has been urged by opposition political parties to visit the victims and widows to apologise.

“The people who were maimed and those who lost their loved ones have not been compensated. The saddest thing they’ve done is to take technical legal points and to say there’s no case. About an apology, they don’t realise that for the victims, the issue about the apology is that it’s often more important to them than the money.”

In 2017, Ramaphosa apologised for what he said was inappropriate language during the Marikana strike. Addressing professionals and academics at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape at the time, Ramaphosa said he participated in trying to stop further deaths from happening before the day of the massacre.

Ramaphosa said he apologised before and was still sorry.

“I then said that we need to prevent this from happening. And yes, I may well have used unfortunate language in the messages I sent out and for which I have apologised, and for which I do apologise that I did not use appropriate language.”

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