OPINION

Marikana: 5 years later, and we’re still waiting for justice - Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says not a single person has been criminally prosecuted or taken political responsibility for the tragic events

Marikana: 5 years later, and we’re still waiting for justice

Note to Editors: The following remarks were made today by the DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the Nkaneng Koppie in Marikana, to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Marikana Massacre.

My fellow South Africans,

I greet you with a deep sense of sorrow and loss, as tomorrow marks exactly 5 years since the tragic killing of some 34 men – brothers, fathers, and sons – who were gunned down by the South African Police Service (SAPS) at this very site.

That dreadful day will long remain as a stain on the collective conscience of our country.

Today marks 1826 days since our fellow citizens were killed in broad daylight by the very members of government who are meant to protect them. Yet, to this day, no justice has been brought to the victims’ families, loved ones, and to the town of Marikana. Sadly, the name of this town has come to represent all which is unjust in our society, and in the ANC government.

Walking around this town, as I did today, one struggles to find any meaningful development over the past 5 years, despite the myriad of hollow promises by the ANC government. There are no new houses, roads, clinics or basic services that were promised by the various government departments over the years. The ANC government has truly forgotten about Marikana. ‘

No one has come to apologise for the tragedy, no one has taken accountability, and no one has come forward with solutions.

We are left asking,

Where is the political responsibility?

Where is the compensation and reparations?

Where are the houses and local infrastructure development?

Where are the jobs?

It is an insult that five years later not a single person has been criminally prosecuted or taken political responsibility for the tragic events. Whether you are a Police Commissioner or the Deputy President of South Africa, we maintain that those involved are to be held to account for that fateful day.

The Farlam Commission Report was released over 2 years ago, but nothing has been done since then to provide closure on the greatest tragedy of our young democracy. In fact, those responsible have continued to evade accountability, while the poor of Marikana suffer. The R153 million Commission uncovered the truth, but has so far not led to justice, closure or compensation.

Today, those directly involved in the massacre walk free.

Nathi Mthethwa, then Minister of Police, is still in the Zuma cabinet. Section 206 of the Constitution is clear: political responsibility for the actions of the SAPS falls squarely in the hands of the Minister of Police. Yet instead of Minister Mthethwa being removed from cabinet and criminally charged, he came to Parliament last week to defend Jacob Zuma and all his stealing and corruption in the Motion of No Confidence debate.

What about the North West Police Commissioner Zukiswa Mbombo? She got to comfortably retire even before the Farlam Commission report was released, without any accountability.

Riah Phiyega, then National Police Commissioner, walked off scot free.

And Cyril Ramaphosa refuses to even visit Marikana 5 years on, nor take responsibility for his role, yet believes he ought to be the next president of South Africa.

These politicians and public servants get to carry on with their lives, while the people of Marikana are left without justice and without answers.

Fellow South Africans, I don’t blame you for being angry. The anger you feel is righteous anger indeed. Anger which is fuelled by injustice. If the ANC government walked into my town and murdered citizens using live ammunition, I would be filled with anger. But anger does not bring about justice.

Fellow South Africans, I appeal to you: hit them where it hurts the most. Come 2019, I want you to remember what happened here on that fateful day in August 2012. Take their power away and vote them out of office. Because this ANC government treats the workers of our country like their lives don’t matter. This ANC governs like black lives don’t matter. And we cannot continue to be subject to this any longer.

Today I visited several homes in the Nkaneng informal settlement just across the field. I visited women who have been unemployed for years and are desperate for work. The women of Marikana truly are the forgotten victims. Many lost husbands, fathers, brothers, and breadwinners in their homes. And many still continue to feel the burden of loss, be it emotional or financial.

While the ANC steals your money and gives it to the Zumas and the Guptas, the people of Marikana go hungry.

In fact, the lives of mineworkers will only get worse under Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. A now well-known Gupta-stooge, Zwane is hell-bent on killing jobs in the mining sector in order to enrich his political masters.

The mining sector is an integral part of our economy as almost 450 000 South Africans work directly for the mines, and at least as many work in associated industries. Yet Minister Gupta – against all good sense - introduced a new Mining Charter which has cost the economy R50 billion and sent the mining sector into disarray. Since then, mining companies have been forced to retrench workers in order stay afloat and remain profitable. Sibanye Gold is set to slash over 7000 jobs, AngloGold up to 8,500 jobs, and Bokoni Platinum over 3000 jobs.

While the ANC says they care for the people, their actions show that their care about their own profits. We can't trust them anymore.

I’m here to tell you, don’t lose heart. Real change is on its way. The DA has a plan to reverse this decline and put South Africa back on the path to prosperity. Our people have had enough of the ANC taking advantage of us, and placing patronage and profits over the people.

When I was here last year, it was just days after the people of Marikana took to the ballot box and shattered the ANC’s majority in the Rustenberg Local Municipality on 3 August 2016.

And come 2019, the people of Marikana, and all across the North West Province, will punish this corrupt and morally bankrupt ANC at the polls, and usher in a new beginning for our people and for our country.

We have given the ANC too many chances, and the ANC has failed us too many times. It’s time for total change.

It’s time for real justice for the people of Marikana.

Amandla!

Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane MP, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 15 August 2017