Ramaphosa to tread carefully as Marikana anniversary approaches
‘The feelings and wishes of the Marikana community and the families of the victims are of paramount importance in this sensitive process’
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday signalled he has no intention of engaging in politicking as families prepare to mark the fifth commemoration of the Marikana tragedy.
"The feelings and wishes of the Marikana community and the families of the victims are of paramount importance in this sensitive process‚" his office said in a statement.
"Deputy President Ramaphosa is committed to be part of the initiative proposed by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela."
In May‚ The Herald reported on an event at Rhodes University at which Ramaphosa shared his emotions about the events in 2012 that led to the deaths of 34 miners during an unprotected strike at the Lonmin mine.
"My conscience is [that] I participated in trying to stop further deaths from happening‚" he said then.
"Ten workers had been killed and my intervention was to say there is a disaster looming‚ more workers have been killed.
"My role was to try and stop further deaths – some of the workers had been hacked to death‚ their eyes gouged out and their hearts ripped out.
"I was horrified – and you may say that doesn’t matter now‚ but it did horrify me as a person.
"I said we needed to prevent this from happening‚" he said.
"Yes‚ I may have used unfortunate language in the messages that I sent out‚ for which I apologised.
"Even now‚ I apologise that I did not use appropriate language‚ but I never had the intention to have 34 miners killed."
The Herald reported Ramaphosa said he had worked for nine years for mineworkers‚ serving them diligently.
"I did everything to make sure their wages increased and improving their living conditions‚" he said. "For nine years of my life‚ I put everything that I had to make sure their lives improved."
He said he was willing to listen to senior ANC leaders who could give him guidance on how he should handle the Marikana matter further.
"This is where‚ as a leader‚ I am prepared to listen to the advice and counsel of other leaders‚" Ramaphosa said.
"Mama Winnie Mandela has said to me‚ ‘Deputy President‚ this matter needs to be addressed. I want to take you to Marikana’‚ that is what she said to me.
"I have said‚ ‘Mama‚ I will accept your counsel in this regard’.
"This is a matter that she wants to do because she also felt pained by what happened.
"So I am willing to be led by her."
He did not say when he would be going to Marikana.