On 16 August 2013, South Africans will commemorate the tragic incidents that occurred in Marikana near Rustenburg in the North West province in August 2012 which claimed the lives of about 44 people.
The incident of the 16th in particular shocked the whole country and caused untold pain and numbness amongst all South Africans. I wish to extend again, our heartfelt condolences to all the families of those who died before and after the 16 August 2012 in Marikana.
It was a tragic and sad loss of life. We pulled through because we united and ensured that the tragedy did not derail the country and efforts of nation building and reconstruction. I appointed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the incident led by Judge Ian Farlam. We respect the Commission and will not pre-empt its findings or interfere with its work by speculating on what happened on that day or apportioning blame.
I would like to call upon all South Africans to treat the 16th of August as a day of prayer and reflection. We must pray for the families of all who lost their lives in Marikana, before and after the 16th of August. We must all resolve to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of similar incidents.
Tomorrow, Thursday 15th of August, we urge all the regular women's prayer services of Mother's Unions/Omanyano, to also reflect on the people and families of those who died in Marikana.
We should also continue working together to solve all our problems as is being done currently in the mining sector in a process led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
The mining sector remains central to South Africa's economy as it employs many people and contributes to growth. It is therefore necessary that all stakeholders work together to stabilise the mining sector and strengthen it to withstand the current difficult global economic conditions.
Government, organised labour and organised business have committed to work together to restore peace and stability in the mines. The framework agreement signed by the parties in July 2013 provides the basis for cooperation by all stakeholders to stabilise the mining sector and set it on a sustainable footing.
An important step towards strengthening and stabilising the mining sector is ensuring that peace and stability prevail so as to create an environment conducive to development. Workers and managers must go to work without fear that anyone would harm them. Workers must be free to exercise their Constitutional right to join any trade union of their choice, to declare disputes, to strike and to engage in any form of peaceful protest.
Both workers and employers must ensure that all matters pertaining to labour relations including union recognition agreements, verification of membership and wage negotiations are conducted within the Labour Relations Act, which lays the primary foundation for labour relations in South Africa.
Government will act decisively to enforce the rule of law, maintain peace during strikes and other protests relating to labour disputes and ensure protection of life, property and the advancement of the rights of all.
In this regard, the Mine Crime Combating Forum was launched today, 14 August, which will see mining companies, trade unions and mining communities working with the South African Police Service to maintain peace and stability in the mines and surrounding communities.
Government will ensure that law enforcement agencies act in a manner that is fair, impartial and objective.
The President appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Marikana Tragedy, led by the Minister in the Presidency Mr Collins Chabane.
The Committee comprises the following:
North West Premier
The Minister of Mineral Resources
The Minister of Police
The Minister of Social Development
The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
The Minister of Labour
The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
The Minister of Health
The Minister of State Security and
The Minister of Home Affairs.