The site of the Marikana massacre near Rustenburg, North West. Picture: DANIEL BORN
The site of the Marikana massacre near Rustenburg, North West. Picture: DANIEL BORN

Questions whether the government has done enough to acknowledge its central role in the 2012 Marikana massacre and make amends to the victims and their families took centre stage on Monday as the country marked nine years since the atrocity.

At least 34 mineworkers who were striking over wages in Rustenburg, North West, were gunned down by police and 78 were injured.

The government has been accused of protecting and colluding with mine owner Lonmin, leaving victims out in the cold and with no convictions for the police who killed the workers.

Speaking during the hybrid Marikana massacre commemoration, Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa said the victims of the massacre had been abandoned by their government.

But police minister Bheki Cele denied this and said the government has paid R176m to the victims’ families. 

The legal representative of the injured and arrested mineworkers, advocate Dali Mpofu, dismissed Cele’s response as “deceptive” and said the money was too little for the hundreds of affected workers. 

The mineworkers have been paid between R300,000 and R400,000.

Lonmin sold the mine to Sibanye-Stillwater in 2019, with the new owners and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a director and a shareholder at the time, now facing a lawsuit from the mineworkers.

Mpofu said a group of workers had set aside R1m of their compensation money for the lawsuit. The legal teams of all those affected by the massacre agreed to take on Sibanye and Ramaphosa and they have approached the North West High Court.

“I have spoken to all the legal teams. We have now asked the deputy judge president to set down the case against Mr Ramaphosa and Sibanye and we expect it might be today or in the next few days to get a response as to when that case will happen.

“It will be in that case that we will not only be simply asking for money but also what I call a nonpecuniary compensation in the form of apologies and undertakings that this will never happen again,” Mpofu said.

Advocate Teboho Mosikili, a trustee of the Amcu Massacre Trust, said much work has been done to build houses for victims and and their families in Sterkspruit, Dutywa, Lusikisiki, Mqanduli, Vanderbijlpark, Xhora, Mthatha, Ngqeleni, Libode, Tsolo, Lady Frere, Mount Fletcher, Cala, Ntabankulu and Bizana in a project by the trust. 

Mosikili said the trust aims to assist the families of all 44 victims of the massacre, including those of the policemen who were killed.

“We have made a promise that we will not discriminate. At the end of the day it is the blood of a black man that was spilt on that day. That is the bottom line,” Mosikili said.

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