Forgive me for Marikana, South Africa’s Deputy President, begs South Africans; Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised to South Africans for his role in the Marikana tragedy.
Mr Ramaphosa, who’s vying to become the African National Congress (ANC) next President, and of course, the next leader of South Africa, said he is sorry for the manner of language he used during the tragedy.
The Deputy President tendered the apology at Rhodes University. Addressing students, Ramaphosa admitted that he was wrong to have asserted that the Lonmin mine strike was all about “criminal acts and must be characterised as such”.
He made the statement in an email correspondence between Lonmin management and government officials on the eve of the Marikana tragedy. It is widely held that Ramaphosa’s statement partly inspired the Marikana massacre.
When a student questioned the Deputy President about his role in the massacre, he apologised for describing the Lonmin mine strike as criminal acts. Thereafter, he stressed that he intervened and successfully prevented further deaths.
“Yes,” he said, “I may well have used unfortunate language in the messages I sent out. I have apologised and I do apologise that I did not use appropriate language but I never had the intention to have 34 other mine workers killed.”
Ramaphosa further divulged that the ‘Mother of the Nation’, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela once asked him to embrace the tragic event by visiting the area.
She “said to me: ‘DP this matter needs to be addressed. I want to go with you to Marikana,’ (and I said) ‘Mama, I will accept your counsel.’
“I also felt pained by what happened in Marikana. I am willing to do that. I am going to be led by Mama in this regard,” remarked the Deputy President.
Having said that, Mr Ramaphosa contended that his intervention reduced the magnitude of the tragedy.
According to him, he was horrified when he stepped in to manage the crisis. Ten workers he said, had already been killed. They were butchered and the sight he met excessively shocked him.
Stressing that more workers would have been killed Ramaphosa said: “… My conscience is that I participated in trying to stop further deaths from happening.
“You might say that doesn’t matter but it did horrify me as a person and I then said we need to prevent this from happening.”
With that, the Deputy President recounted how he served miners as the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and worked earnestly to get them better wages and improved living conditions.
“I put everything I had to advance the interest of mine workers. It could never be that I would then say 34 mine workers should be killed.
“I have apologised – this is where even as a leader, I’m willing and prepared to listen to advice and counsel of other leaders,” added the Deputy President.
Meanwhile, there have been several agitations for the Deputy President to be punished for his role in the Marikana event.
For instance, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) once charged that Cyril Ramaphosa shouldn’t be excluded from the punishment being forged for the Marikana Massacre.
To the Fighters, it’s not cool to seek accountability from one side of the role players of the massacre. Arguing that the police acted on political command and influence of politicians, the Fighters upheld that Mr Ramaphosa must be held accountable for his political influence that invigorated the massacre.
“Until politicians taken behind bars, the arrest of police is merely an immoral sacrificial lamb. Ramaphosa…must be taken to prison for killing workers in Marikana,” EFF stated.
Earlier this year, it emerged that the government of South Africa accepted to pay families of the Marikana victims over R1.1 billion compensation.
Then, BuzzSouthAfrica reported that the representatives of the families of the Marikana victims wanted to discuss the terms of the government offer with the families before they make further decision.
Also, the government accepted that it would pay psychologists to deal with the emotional trauma the families suffered because of the Marikana incident.
As disclosed, 652 claims amounting to R1.17 billion was made. You can find details of the claim here.
The last time government remembered the tragic event which happened on 16 August 2012, it asserted that the mining sector is the bedrock of the country’s economy. And, promised that more work would be initiated to ensure a steady improvement of the socio-economic conditions in mine communities.