Mahumapelo: North West needs healing after strikes

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Relations between miners, mining companies and officials in Marikana have been damaged and need to be improved, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo said on Thursday.

“The relations have been damaged in the Marikana area – we need to work on them,” he told the New Age‘s business breakfast briefing.

“Unity, including unity in the country, is a road that is perpetual in the construction. We will never reach a stage in society where we say we have completely attained unity. It is something that you work on on a daily basis ...
We urge everyone to come to the party.”

He said government would launch a programme of reconciliation, healing and renewal in the province, focusing on areas such as Marikana and Bloemhof.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union on Tuesday afternoon signed agreements with platinum producers in the province, ending a five-month strike in the sector which had a significant negative effect on Rustenburg’s economy, where Marikana is situated. 

Thirty-four people, almost all striking miners, were shot dead on August 16 2012, and 78 were wounded when police fired on them while trying to disperse a group gathered on a hill near Lonmin’s Marikana mine.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were killed near the mine. The Farlam commission of inquiry, appointed by President Jacob Zuma, is examining the circumstances of the 44 deaths.

Unnecessary loss of life
Mahumapelo said during his state of the province address on Friday that he would announce a package of measures that would ensure there was a chain of communication in the province, which included an early warning system.

He said the death of three babies in Bloemhof, during a water crisis, was an unnecessary loss of life.

He called this a managerial problem and said government would ensure it did not happen again.

“It was not cholera, it was contamination of water. It has been resolved and the situation is back to normal.”

Over 500 cases of diarrhoea were recorded at health care facilities in Bloemhof, which falls under the Lekwa-Teemane municipality.

Three babies, aged between seven and 13 months, died in Bloemhof during the crisis, with their deaths believed to be as a result of contaminated tap water. – Sapa

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