The government has released a statement marking the seventh anniversary of the Marikana tragedy, saying that such an incident should never occur again and that authorities are working on improving the lives of mining communities.
The statement notes that since the conclusion of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry – great strides have been made in ensuring better police capacity in public order policing. It also says more than R171 million in reparations have been paid to lawyers representing the families of the victims and that efforts are underway to ensure a proper infrastructure for mining communities at Marikana.
Thousands of mineworkers gathered in at the infamous Koppie in Marikana – the shooting scene of 34 miners on August 16th in 2012 – to commemorate the event.
Members of different political formations, the clergy, social activists and families of the victims also participate.
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), which represents the family of some of the miners who were killed at Lonmin, says police are still refusing to accept guilt over what happened.
SERI’s Nomzamo Zondo says despite a commission of inquiry into the incident, compensation has not been forthcoming.
” As we speak now we have not finalised that settlement in fact in fact it does seem like we’ve come to the point where we cannot find each other. And its directly because, while we continue seven years past the massacre the state and primarily the police and even Lonmin have refused to accept wrongdoing for what happened seven years ago. And I think that’s why we sit now and are so delayed on the finalisation of compensation,” says Zondo.
Earlier on Friday, a small group that includes ex-mineworkers marched to parliament to demand access to their employment benefits.
The informal settlement network used the seventh anniversary to cast a spotlight on the plight of ex-miners – many of whom never received proper benefits.
They’ve pointed the finger at big financial service providers and the Department of Labour.