President Zuma listens to striking mine workers

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma this afternoon once again visited Lonmin mines in Marikana near Rustenburg, where he listened to the striking mine workers, some of whose colleagues were tragically killed in the violent clashes with police in last week.

President Zuma explained that he was in Mozambique on government work when the tragedy happened and had come back before the scheduled time as he had been shocked that so many people had died.

"I could only meet police leadership on the day. I could not come here as it was late but I managed to go to hospital where some of the injured workers related what happened to me. I have already taken a decision to institute a Commission of Inquiry to investigate every aspect of what happened here. We want the truth," said Zuma.

He told the workers he had decided to come to Marikana despite his other engagements in Mafikeng as it was important to hear first-hand from them and not rely on television and what was reported in the news.

"I hear that you are saying you won't leave here until you get the money you want. I wasn't aware of an agreement between government and employer that you must be killed as you say but that must be investigated.

"I will also send a message to the employer that you demand R12 500. I haven't met the employer so I don't know his view on this. But we have a Constitution to guide us and the Inter-Ministerial Committee I established will continue its work of assisting families and surviving workers. If there is anything that needs me, I will come in person again."

The President added: "This is painful to all of us. It is not acceptable for people to die where talks can be held. But I do feel your pain and have come personally to express that. I am certain that the Commission of Inquiry will get to the bottom of what happened here." The President then proceeded to attend to his full programme in Mafikeng.

President Zuma was accompanied by Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, Defense and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi and North West Premier Thandi Modise.

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