Amcu angry over ‘sidelining’ in Marikana process
The union says it is sidelined in claims process as Socio-Economic Rights Institute pushes for settlements with state
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction (Amcu) says that it has been sidelined in the Marikana massacre reparations process.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa accused the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri) of engaging in a unilateral process to seek financial settlements for the families of the 36 mine workers who were killed by police officers at Marikana, despite a prior arrangement that included Amcu.
He claimed that all the legal teams involved were part of the settlement process, but had not received documentation related to the matter, although this has been disputed.
Next Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the massacre that shook the country and the international community, while the government is yet to pay the claimants.
"On the issue of the claims, we as Amcu are in the dark. We took a resolution with all the legal teams that everything will be done under the umbrella of Amcu, but now Seri moved out and is spearheading the issue of settlements proposed by the government. This issue of R1.8bn, if I am correct, is for every person and not just for the widows," Mathunjwa told Business Day on Thursday.
Seri has dismissed Mathunjwa’s utterances. The organisation’s co-founder and executive director Stuart Wilson said Seri acts for the families of the dead workers and takes instruction only from them.
This was communicated to Amcu on several occasions.
"We have been in contact with all the families and they all know what the situation is."
Mathunjwa alleged that the families had told the union that they were under the impression Amcu was part of the Seri team.
"They [Seri] distanced themselves from the resolutions that we took that whoever has been offered a settlement must come back to the forum because we are all one [...] because Seri is being used by a political party to lobby the widows for political purposes," he said.
Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza, who represents Seri, also distanced himself from Mathunjwa’s claims that he had not received documentation, saying he was still "involved" in the case.
The are two separate reparations processes under way and Ntsebeza and his team, on behalf of Seri, are handling the claims involving the widows of the late workers who were killed while on strike demanding a R12,500 monthly salary.
According to Seri, 326 dependants relied on the wages of the dead workers and were now forced to live in poverty. The families are claiming compensation for, among other things, the loss of financial support of the deceased, grief, emotional shock and medical expenses due to psychological and psychiatric treatment.
The other case, headed by Dali Mpofu SC under instruction, was opened to deal with claims for the injured and arrested, which include wrongful and unlawful arrest.
Meanwhile, Mathunjwa has announced that Amcu will be hosting the commemoration events next Wednesday in Marikana. He cautioned Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to stay away from the area on the day, following earlier reports — which his office has since denied — that he planned to join the memorial.
"He is not welcome. The families have made it clear they do not want to see Ramaphosa there," he said.
Ramaphosa’s spokesman Tyrone Seale said the deputy president was still committed to being part of the healing process in the community.