The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has warned political parties to follow “proper protocol” when attempting to access the Marikana koppie, insisting that the massacre of 34 mineworkers will not be used to “score political points”.
ANC presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma attempted to visit the koppie where the massacre took place on August 16 2012. But she was reportedly chased away.
When Dlamini-Zuma arrived at the koppie with a motorcade entourage in tow on Tuesday, the Amcu branch in Lonmin notified the organisation’s national structure. The national leadership reacted to Dlamini-Zuma’s visit in a press conference on Wednesday.
“[Amcu] has become critical of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s visit to the site of the Marikana Massacre yesterday, which is viewed as an attempt to get political mileage. The Union says that the Marikana koppie is a sacred space where workers lost their lives in the struggle for economic emancipation and that the proper protocol must be followed to ensure that the necessary respect is paid to those who were affected,” the union’s press statement reads.
The proper protocol Amcu speaks of is that politicians should contact the union’s national office who will then get permission from the widows, families and injured and arrested miners who grieve the massacre.
The Lonmin branch of the union informed Dlamini-Zuma’s delegation that “they are not welcome at the site” and they should’ve followed the correct channels out of respect for those affected, Amcu said in its statement.
“AMCU remains convinced that, five years later, the wounds are still raw. The dead must be respected and the truth has yet to surface.”
‘They’re using Marikana for elections’
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has been unable to set foot in Marikana since 44 people died in the area in 2012. Earlier in August, rumours mounted that Ramaphosa – who sat on Lonmin’s board at the time – would pay a visit to the area with beloved struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. But the occasion never materialised.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane also attempted to go to the koppie in August but was told by Amcu to attend the official fifth anniversary and commemoration ceremony of the massacre instead. Maimane abided by the request.
Dlamini-Zuma, however, has ignited fury from some in the region who believe her visit was a campaign attempt in the run-up to the ANC’s elective conference in December.
“It shows that they’re disrespectful because it’s been 5 years after the people died, they’ve never been here. There was a commemoration last week and there’s nothing they did,” Marikana miner Xolani Nzuz told eNCA.
“So it shows that they’re only using Marikana to canvass for the upcoming elections. They come here because they want to be voted in. There was a Farlam commission of inquiry and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma never set foot there even just to sit and listen.”
Police officers have yet to be convicted for the massacre which took place five years ago. Part of the hurt in the region, Amcu said, is a result of the lack of justice.
“Until the compensation is paid to the families, until the police officers and those who gave the command to kill, are prosecuted, and until the cases against workers are withdrawn, there will not be closure and healing,” the union said.