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Cyril’s atonement for Marikana: Compensation is nearly ready

Compensation payouts to the survivors of the Marikana massacre and the families of the mine workers who were shot dead by police should be finalised within the coming months, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

“The government is making progress in continued engagements with legal representatives with the families, including reparations to them. This must be concluded in the coming months,” Ramaphosa told MPs on Tuesday, during his reply to the State of the Nation debate.

Ramaphosa addressed the massacre of 34 workers by police at the Lonmin Platinum mine in August 2012 for the first time since being elected president in parliament. The workers were killed while on strike for better wages and living conditions.

Ramaphosa said the massacre “stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy” and spoke about his role in the violence.

READ MORE: ‘Miners shot while hiding or fleeing’

The president was not in any leadership position in the ANC when the massacre happened, and only held a position as director a Lonmin.

Ten people were killed during the six week long unprotected mineworkers strike and on the eve of the massacre, Ramaphosa sent an email to the minister of mineral resources and police calling for “concomitant action” to be taken to end the violence.

Less than six months later, he was elected deputy president of the ANC at its Mangaung conference.

But in Parliament Ramaphosa said he was ready to atone for his role.

“I’m determined to play whatever role I can in the process of healing and atonement for what happened in Marikana. In this I am guided by the needs and the wishes of the families of the 44 workers who lost their lives.” 

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Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

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