Government reflects on tragic Marikana incident

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

As South Africa commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Marikana incident, government has reflected on the progress made in improving the socio-economic conditions of the community.

These include the over R176 million that has been paid to the affected claimants in Marikana related litigation, newly built schools, a clinic as well as a community hall, which caters to the local residents.

“The tragedy that happened in Marikana is regrettable and as government, we commit to do everything possible to ensure it never happens again.

“Our constitutional democracy provides for the rights of all workers, those who choose to withhold their labour and those that decide to be non-participants in strike actions without any fear or favour. We will continue to build a tolerant society and a police [service] that respects these rights,” Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said on Tuesday.

The Minister said since the unfortunate incident, government has been working tirelessly to ensure all the recommendations made by the Farlam Commission are implemented.

The Farlam Commission was established to investigate matters of public, national and international concern arising out of the tragic incidents at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana, in the North West Province, which took place from 11 August until 16 August in 2012.

The tragic events led to the deaths of 44 people, while more than 70 people sustained injuries. About 250 people were arrested as a result of this event.

“We use this day to reflect on the progress we have made in improving the South African Police Service (SAPS). We also reflect on the progress that has been made in improving the conditions of the mineworkers,” Gungubele said.

According to the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), more than R176 million has been paid to claimants in relation to the Marikana litigation.

While 48 matters dealing with personal injuries are currently before court [half of them have been settled], the Office of the Solicitor-General seeks to finalise outstanding cases by the end of the month.

“As part of reparation between the mine and the community of Marikana, government is encouraged that Sibanye-Stillwater has employed some of the widows and relatives of the deceased miners so that they can look after their families.

“Furthermore, the mine has established a Women in Mining Committee to address issues of gender-based violence and women empowerment. Government will continue to work with all stakeholders to intensify its commitment to co-create a shared vision. The ultimate goal is to create a new legacy through healing and hope, in collaboration with all stakeholders,” GCIS said.

Efforts to develop Marikana

Sibanye-Stillwater, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), has built the Marikana Combined School. Lonmin and the DBE built Marikana 1 and 2 Primary Schools for the learners within the mining area. The Marikana Secondary School was completed in 2020.

Last year, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development donated 500 pairs of school shoes to secondary schools around Marikana, Wonderkop, Mogwase, and Tlhabane.

Moreover, a clinic and a community hall were built in Marikana.

Sibanye-Stillwater has since embarked on various comprehensive development projects in the area. Some of the projects involve creating value for employees by procuring goods and services locally, and contributing to the government through taxes and royalties.

WATCH | Developments in Marikana 

The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) has launched a housing project in Marikana worth R700 million, with several housing units already built.

“The housing project is for the distressed mining community around the Nkaneng informal settlement in Marikana. Bulk infrastructure was also installed. The DHS had built 511 housing units in Marikana, which were regrettably illegally occupied before they could be handed over to the qualifying beneficiaries,” GCIS said.

At the end of August 2020, Sibanye-Stillwater handed over six renovated or newly acquired homes to the Marikana widows in the Eastern Cape and Lesotho.

A further 13 houses were expected to be built or acquired in 2022, as part of the initiative started by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union Trust to furnish some of the homes of the widows.

Sibanye-Stillwater has donated 50 hectares of land, worth R80 million to the Rustenburg Local Municipality, to build houses for the residents of Marikana.

The Executive Mayor of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality, Matlakala Nondzaba, in partnership with Sibanye-Stillwater, recently visited the Marikana koppie to assess the place where the memorial site for the mineworkers who died in 2012 will be built.

The memorial site aims to heal the families who lost their loved ones and bring closure.

“Sibanye-Stillwater has made significant progress in working with government on the roll-out of its COVID-19 vaccination programme, with over 10 000 employees vaccinated since 25 June 2021, in accordance with the Department of Health’s guidelines and protocols,” GCIS said.

Matters before court

Two cases relating to the Marikana matter had been enrolled at the High Court of South Africa; North West Division.

The third case is currently sitting at the North Gauteng High Court.

“In the first case, General Mzondase Mpembe, the former Deputy Police Commissioner and three senior police officers, Brigadier Jacobus van Zyl, Brigadier Dingaan Madoda and Lieutenant Colonel Oupa Pule, faced a charge of defeating the ends of justice.

"This was the charge linked to them having allegedly concealed the murder of Modisaotsile Van Wyk Segalala (60), who allegedly died in a police vehicle. This matter was finalised in March 2021 after they were acquitted of this charge,” GCIS said.

The second case currently before court involves General Mpembe and five other police officers - Colonel Salmon Vermaak, Constable Nkosana Mguye, Warrant Officer (WO) Katlego Sekgweleya, WO Masilo Mogale and WO Khazamola Makhubela.

The officers are charged with the murder of three police officers and two miners who died during the confrontation between the police and miners.

“The third case is the State versus Anele Zonke and others. The accused are charged with the murders of police officers, security officers and other non-striking employees, attempted murders, and malicious damage to properties of mine buildings, cars and other properties.

“The case is before the North Gauteng High Court on a review application by the accused. The matter has been remanded to 9 September 2022, pending the finalisation of the decision in North Gauteng,” GCIS said.

Other matters that are a subject of the court are the killings of Isaiah Twala, Warrant officer Tsietsi Monene, WO Sello Lepaku, Hassan Fundi and Frans Mabelane.

This case concerns the events that took place on 16 August 2012, at what was known as Scene 1 and Scene 2. Investigations into the matter are ongoing. –