Government commemorates the Marikana tragedy
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that happened around Lonmin Platinum Mine in Marikana in North West province on 16 August 2012, which claimed the lives of miners, security guards, and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). Government joins the families, friends and South Africans in remembering those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
Government is committed to changing the painful legacy that came to define the Marikana community. As a caring government, we firmly believe that the Marikana renewal interventions will not only contribute to the important process of healing but will also result in the socio-economic development of the area. The renewal seeks to secure a better future for the community of Marikana and the families of those who lost their lives.
Together with Sibanye-Stillwater – the multinational precious metals mining company that bought the Lonmin Platinum Mine in 2019 – government and other stakeholders are working directly with the community of Marikana to find long-lasting peace and a positive legacy.
The Minister in The Presidency, Mr. Mondli Gungubele, said, “the Marikana tragedy was a turning point in the history of democratic South Africa and one that must never be repeated. It exposed the gaps in South Africa’s socio-economic order and provided an opportunity for introspection. Government continues to implement the recommendations of the Farlam Commission led by retired Judge Ian Gordon Farlam.”
Minister Gungubele added, “since that unfortunate incident, government has been working tirelessly to ensure all the recommendations made by the Farlam Commission are implemented. We use this day to also reflect on the progress we have made in improving the SAPS. We also reflect on the progress that has been made in improving the conditions of the mineworkers.”
As part of reparation between the mine and the community of Marikana, the government is encouraged that Sibanye-Stillwater has employed some of the widows and relatives of the deceased miners so that they can look after their families.
Furthermore, the mine has established a Women in Mining Committee to address issues of gender-based violence and women empowerment. Government will continue to work with all stakeholders to intensify its commitment to co-create a shared vision. The ultimate goal is to create a new legacy through healing and hope, in collaboration with all stakeholders.
Revitalising the mining sector
The country’s economic growth remains intertwined with the mining sector. Government continues to make a fervent call on the mining industry to develop the living areas of mining towns, including Marikana and surrounding areas. The North West province has unique minerals for the country and for exporting. It currently has diverse mining investment projects that continue to develop the province economically and also support the creation of much-needed jobs. As government, we remain resolute in creating an enabling environment for the mining sector to continue to thrive in the country.
Sibanye-Stillwater has since embarked on various comprehensive development projects in the area. Some of the projects involve creating value for employees by procuring goods and services locally, and contributing to the government through taxes and royalties.
Compensation for the families
Regarding compensation, over R176 million has been paid to the affected claimants. According to the Solicitor-General, Mr Fhedzisani Pandelani, half of the forty-eight (48) remaining cases have been settled.
The outstanding matters that are before the courts will be finalised by the end of August 2022, as directed by Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba, who has instructed the parties to settle each matter on a case-management basis.
Holding those accountable
Two cases relating to the Marikana matter had been enrolled at the High Court of South Africa; North West Division. The third case is currently sitting at the North Gauteng High Court.
In the first case, General Mzondase Mpembe, the former Deputy Police Commissioner and three senior police officers, Brigadier Jacobus van Zyl, Brigadier Dingaan Madoda and Lieutenant Colonel Oupa Pule, faced a charge of defeating the ends of justice. This was the charge linked to them alleged to have concealed the murder of Mr Modisaotsile Van Wyk Segalala (60), who allegedly died in a police vehicle. This matter was finalised in March 2021 after they were acquitted of this charge.
The second case currently before court involves General Mpembe and five other police officers, Colonel Salmon Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye, Warrant Officer (WO) Katlego Sekgweleya, WO Masilo Mogale and WO Khazamola Makhubela. The officers are charged with the murder of three police officers and two miners who died during the confrontation between the police and miners.
The third case is the State versus Anele Zonke and others. The accused are charged with the murders of police officers, security officers and other non-striking employees; attempted murders, and malicious damage to properties of mine buildings, cars and other properties. The case is before the North Gauteng High Court on a review application by the accused. The matter has been remanded to 9 September 2022 pending the finalisation of the decision in North Gauteng.
Other matters that are a subject of a court are the killings of Mr Isaiah Twala, WO Tsietsi Monene, WO Sello Lepaku, Mr Hassan Fundi and Mr Frans Mabelane. Regarding the events that took place on 16 August 2012, at what was known as Scene 1 and Scene 2, investigations are still unfolding.
Health and welfare of mineworkers during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Sibanye-Stillwater has made significant progress in working with government on the roll-out of its COVID-19 vaccination programme, with over 10 000 employees vaccinated since 25 June 2021, in accordance with the Department of Health’s guidelines and protocols.
Sibanye-Stillwater, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), has built the Marikana Combined School in Marikana. Marikana 1 and 2 primary schools were built by Lonmin and the DBE for the learners within the mining areas. The Marikana Secondary School was completed in 2020.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development donated 500 pairs of school shoes on 20 June 2021, targeting secondary schools around Marikana, Wonderkop, Mogwase, and Tlhabane. A clinic and a community hall have been built in Marikana to cater for the local residents.
The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) has launched a housing project in Marikana worth R700 million, with several housing units already built. The housing project is for the distressed mining community around the Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana. Bulk infrastructure was also installed.
The DHS had built 511 housing units in Marikana, which were regrettably illegally occupied before they could be handed over to the qualifying beneficiaries.
At the end of August 2020, Sibanye-Stillwater handed over six renovated or newly acquired homes to the Marikana widows in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho. A further 13 houses were expected to be built or acquired in 2022, as part of the initiative started by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union Trust to furnish some of the homes of the widows.
Sibanye-Stillwater has donated 50 hectares of land worth R80 million to the Rustenburg Local Municipality to build houses for the residents of Marikana.
The Executive Mayor of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, Cllr Matlakala Nondzaba, in partnership with Sibanye-Stillwater, recently visited the Marikana koppie to assess the place where the memorial site for the mineworkers who died in 2012 would be built. The memorial site aims to heal the families who lost their loved ones and also bring closure.
Minister Gungubele concluded by saying, “the tragedy that happened in Marikana is regrettable and as government we commit to do everything possible to ensure it never happens again. Our constitutional democracy provides for the right of all workers, those who choose to withhold their labour and those that decide to be non-participants in strike actions without any fear or favour. We will continue to build a tolerant society and a police force that respects these rights.”