Amnesty International’s new boss Kumi Naidoo has appealed to South Africa to give the families of Marikana victims justice and compensation.
Naidoo, the first South African to head the London founded body, says he’ll prioritise the continent and take on US President Donald Trump.
It’s been a bitter-sweet homecoming for Amnesty International’s new boss, Kumi Naidoo.
“A pathetic failure of government that 6 years on there are no reparations and accountability. For us as amnesty we are focused on accountability for those who gave the orders.Otherwise we are instilling a culture of impunity.”
He headed Greenpeace, an environmental NGO where he was famous for climbing oil rigs in the Arctic to attract international attention. And then there was Africa Rising – that seeks to hold leaders on the continent accountable.
The Board Chair of Amnesty International, Mwikali Muthiani says, “We brought him to South Africa where he started as a young man at 15 where he got expelled from school for organising a revolt and he stood for human rights at that early stage.”
Naidoo’s priorities include Zimbabwe, the Middle East, and U.S President Donald Trump.
“Sadly far too many countries we are seeing a slippage including the us with the absurdity of Donald Trump… right now the greatest pain is his approach to immigration, separating young children from their parents.”
Naidoo warns young people not to wait to be the leaders of tomorrow, but to lead peaceful civil disobedience today like he did when he was 15.
Calls to declare the 16th August a public holiday
Meanwhile the call to declare the day a public holiday was again re-emphasised by almost all speakers during the sixth commemoration of the Marikana tragedy.
The ceremony was held at the “koppie” were the miners were killed.
Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, told thousands that the ruling party would be undermining the nation should it fail to declare the 16th of August a public holiday.
“How long must we wait six years is enough, if the ANC is not willing to act then we must conclude that the ANC was complicit in the actions that took place here in Marikana. If we don’t turn today into a public holiday it is going to happen again because the ANC has forgotten about the people of South Africa.”
AMCU president, Joseph Mathunjwa, criticised government for not taking full responsibility of the Marikana tragedy. He added his voice to the call for the 16th of August to be declared a public holiday.
“We demand that the 16 of August be declared a public holiday. This is the day where government killed black people. We want this day to be Workers Day. So that it reminds all of us of our struggle.”
Meanwhile, Communications Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, says President Cyril Ramaphosa is committed to visiting Marikana. Ramaphosa made the commitment earlier this year in Parliament.
“He himself, His Excellency President Ramaphosa has made that commitment and we are all working on it understanding also the pain, understanding also the concerns, so that once that happens it must be something that brings closure in terms of a stand off between government, the affected families, the affected trade union movement in the area and most importantly all South Africans,” Mokonyane explained.
Regarding compensation for the Marikana victims, Mokonyane said government is awaiting a response from lawyers representing the families of the victims.
This comes after the Socio-Economic Rights Institute‚ which represents 320 claimants, complained that the amount their clients were being offered was much lower than that given to the families of the Life Esidemini tragedy.
It is reported that government has offered families of the slain Marikana mineworkers a 100-million-rand settlement for general damages. – Additional reporting by Patrick Dintwa