South Africa: Plans Ahead for President Ramaphosa to Visit Marikana Soon

As South Africa today commemorates the seventh anniversary of the Marikana tragedy, preparations for President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit the area are underway.

"The Presidency is finalising consultations with all stakeholders, including AMCU (Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union) and NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) on an appropriate time and date for President Ramaphosa to visit Marikana to assess the implementation of the recommendations of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry," said the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

In a statement on Friday, the GCIS said government joins the nation in the commemoration of the events that led to the Marikana tragedy on 16 August 2012.

In August of that year, a total of 44 people died following days of violence during a protracted wage strike by workers at the Lonmin platinum mine in the North West.

Government established the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, led by Judge Ian Gordon Farlam, to investigate the circumstances that led to this tragedy and importantly, what needed to be done to prevent a recurrence of such a tragedy.

Saying that the incident will forever be ingrained in the minds of South Africans, government added that its thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives.

"As a nation birthed on the recognition and respect of human rights as a bedrock of our democratic society, government has vowed that such incidents should never again be repeated in a democratic South Africa."

Implementation of recommendations

Meanwhile, government has since the conclusion of the Commission of Inquiry made progress in implementing the commission's recommendations. Among the recommendations made was that the South African Police Service (SAPS) strengthen their capacity of public order policing.

"A total of 3 825 members from Public Order Policing have participated in basic training in crowd management. We have in recent times witnessed SAPS' ability to effectively manage crowds in the interest of maintaining law and order during protests around the country. Furthermore, all criminal matters related to the Marikana tragedy is now before our courts," said the GCIS.

Progress has also been made in the reparations for families with government having paid at least R171 446 581 million to the legal representatives of the families in the finalised cases, for arrests, detention claims and for a loss of support.

With regard to compensation for general damages, discussions between government and representatives of the affected families are taking place and it is hoped that they will be concluded in due course.

Housing and public partnerships

On housing, the Department of Human Settlements has launched a R700 million housing project for Marikana and to date 544 housing units have been completed.

For the 2018/19 financial year, the Department of Human Settlements has focused interventions towards informal settlement upgrading; land use management; extension and sharing of bulk infrastructure to support basic service provision; increasing home ownership and rental housing opportunities.

Government and mining companies in Rustenburg, Madibeng region are engaged in private public partnerships in sharing bulk and reticulation infrastructure in order to deliver basic services such as water and sanitation to mine communities such as Marikana.

"There is an acknowledgement that much more needs to be done to improve the socio-economic status of mining communities. Government pledges its full support, in partnership with mining companies and communities, to accelerate change in the living and working conditions of mine workers," it said.

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