ANC pays price over massacre
RUSTENBURG – Four years on‚ there has been no “reckoning” for Marikana‚ but there has been a “rejection” of the ruling party because of it.
That is how Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday marked the anniversary of the “senseless and tragic massacre of 44 South Africans by the state at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana”.
August 16 marks the day 34 mineworkers were killed‚ following a deadly wage strike which had already seen 10 people – including security guards and police officers – killed.
“Those who presided over the massacre still hold high office‚ and there has been no accountability‚ or reckoning‚” said Maimane.
“Despite the magnitude of this tragedy – and the overwhelming political influence in its unfolding — we stand here four years later without justice for those who lost their lives.”
But while justice has not been served, the DA and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), say voters have brought the ruling ANC swift punishment through the ballot box. In the August 3 elections, the ANC lost control of the Rustenburg Municipality, under which Marikana falls.
EFF leader Julius Malema on Tuesday saluted Marikana residents for removing the ANC in ward 26, which includes the Nkaneng informal settlement and the kopje, where the miners were gunned down. The EFF claimed that seat from the ANC.
“We’re here to say thank you for voting for the EFF, and we’re going to make sure that our people in this ward get houses, water and electricity. We’re going to make sure that the Rustenburg municipality builds roads for our people,” Malema told the gathered thousands. “This municipality, no matter what happens, will not fall in the hands of the ANC. We are eating this elephant called the ANC piece by piece.”
The ANC was conspicuously absent at the event. Maimane said this showed the party “continues to disregard the lives of poor black South Africans” and “it is thus no surprise that on August 3, 2016‚ the people of Marikana took to the ballot box and shattered the ANC’s majority in the Rustenberg Local Municipality”.
“The rejection of ANC arrogance is only the beginning of rebuilding the community of Marikana‚ where four years ago an uncaring government sanctioned the use of state machinery to mitigate the fight taken up by workers for a fairer life‚” Maimane said.
“Political parties who place their own interests and profits ahead of the needs of the people should be voted out‚ so that the process of change‚ justice and healing can take place.”
He added that “history books must write about what happened here so that we can learn from history”.
“What we must work towards is ensuring that what happened at Marikana never happens again. Never must the lives of workers be undermined‚ and never must the pursuit of a better life be treated in a criminal fashion.” – TMG Digital