Last night South Africa’s President Jabob Zuma announced the key findings of the Marikana report by the Marikana Commission of Inquiry – placing the majority of the blame for the incident on Lonmin, AMCU and NUM.
Lonmin ineffective in controlling strike
The Commission has found that Lonmin did not use its best endeavours to resolve the disputes that arose between itself and its workers who participated in the unprotected strike on the one hand and between the strikers and those workers who did not participate in the strike.
It also did not respond appropriately to the threat of‚ and the outbreak of violence. Lonmin also failed to employ sufficient safeguards and measures to ensure the safety of its employees.
Lonmin also insisted that its employees who were not striking should come to work‚ despite the fact that it knew that it was not in a position to protect them from attacks by strikers.
The Commission also criticized Lonmin’s implementation of undertakings with regards to the Social and Labour plans.
AMCU also ineffective
The Commission has found that officials of AMCU did not exercise effective control over AMCU members and supporters in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.
They sang provocative songs and made inflammatory remarks‚ which tended to aggravate an already volatile situation.
The Commission also noted that the President of AMCU‚ Joseph Mathunjwa‚ did his best before the shootings to persuade the strikers to lay down their arms and leave the koppie.
NUM ineffective as well
The National Union of Mineworkers did not exercise its best endeavours to resolve the dispute between itself and the strikers.
The NUM wrongly advised rock drill operators that no negotiations with Lonmin were possible until the end of the two year wage agreement.
The union also did not take the initiative to persuade and enable Lonmin to speak to the workers.
The NUM also failed to exercise effective control over its membership in ensuring that their conduct was lawful and did not endanger the lives of others.
It encouraged and assisted non-striking workers to go to the shafts in circumstances where there was a real danger that they would be killed or injured by armed strikers.
The police should not be blamed for inability to handle the situation
In respect of the tragic incident of 16 August 2012‚ the Commission found that the police did not handle the incident in the correct manner for a variety of reasons – being unable to handle and disarm the growing number of strikers for starters.
There was also a complete lack of command for senior police members and a delay in getting medical assistance to strikers injured on the scene.
Cyril Ramaphosa, Nathi Mthwethwa and Susan Shabangu innocent
The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons alleged that Ramaphosa and Mthethwa were the cause of the Marikana massacre and that he must be held accountable for the death of 34 miners.
The Commission has found that it cannot be said that Ramaphosa nor Mthethwa were the cause of the massacre‚ and the accusations against him are groundless.
The Counsel for Injured and Arrested Persons submitted that Minister Shabangu should be prosecuted on charges of corruption and perjury.
No findings were made against Minister Shabangu.
Recommendations to improve the SACPS
The Commission recommends that Lonmin’s failure to comply with the housing obligations under the Social and Labour Plans should be drawn to the attention of the Department of Mineral Resources‚ which should take steps to enforce the performance of these obligations by Lonmin.
The Commission has recommended that a Panel of Experts which should cover all areas pertaining to the Marikana event that the SACPS in particular are better equipped to deal with similar situations in the future.
Investigations regarding the killings that took place between 11 and 15 August 2012 will remain on-going.
Remembering the dreadful day – in Zuma’s words
The Marikana incident was a horrendous tragedy that has no place in a democracy‚ where all citizens have a right to protest and where workers have the right to go on strike peacefully and negotiate working conditions with their employers‚ peacefully.
Breadwinners were taken away from their families in a brutal manner and untold pain and suffering befell the families and relatives.
The entire South African nation was shocked. The world was also shocked as nobody expected this to happen in a free and democratic South Africa.
We should‚ as a nation learn from this painful episode. We should use it to build a more united‚ peaceful and cohesive society.
The full report will be published in the Government Gazette as well as the Presidency and GCIS websites to enable public access.