SA remembers Marikana tragedy

Pretoria-As South Africa marks three years since the killing of the 44 people during the violent strike in Marikana in 2012, President Jacob Zuma has called for unity.

"This day must unite all of us as South Africans. Nobody supports the horrendous loss of life that occurred in Marikana,” said President Zuma on Sunday.

President Zuma also called on the nation to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers.

“We remember all who lost their lives including those who were killed before and after the 16th of August. All lives are equal and important. We urge all South Africans to keep their families in their thoughts and prayers today,” he said.

In August 2012, mineworkers at Lonmin’s platinum mine at Marikana went on a strike demanding a minimum salary of R12, 500 a month.

For days the striking miners camped on top of a koppie near Nkaneng informal settlement demanding that Lonmin officials negotiate with them at the koppie.

The strike turned violent and 34 people, mostly mineworkers, died in a clash with police on August 16. The police were apparently attempting to disarm and disperse them.

Ten other people, including two policemen and two Lonmin security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

President Zuma says giovernment stands with all the people of South Africa who were horrified and shocked by the tragedy that unfolded in Marikana.

“We must commit ourselves to ensuring that never again would a strike turn so violent as to lead to such a senseless loss of life in a free and democratic South Africa,” said President Zuma

The President reiterated that the implementation of the recommendations of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry was being taken seriously by government.

The commission found, among other things, that Lonmin, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) could have prevented the strike.

The President says he has already received responses from the National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and the affected Cabinet Ministers. He reassured that he is considering their responses.

He urged that government be given space to work on a comprehensive implementation process.