ANC calls for restoration of order in S. Africa mining sector

ANC calls for restoration of order in S. Africa mining sector
# 16 August 2013 19:47 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Friday called for the restoration of order and peace in the volatile mining area of Marikana, the North West Province as South Africa marked the anniversary of the Marikana tragedy, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"The South African Police Service must, without fear of favor, restore order and peace in the region, upholding the memory of the compatriots who lost their lives in Marikana," ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said.

He was speaking as thousands of miners gathered at Marikana where 44 people were killed during a strike last year, including 34 miners who were killed by police on Aug. 16.

President Jacob Zuma has called on the nation to commemorate the tragedy so as to reflect on what had caused the bloodshed and to ensure that "the tragedy did not derail the country and efforts of nation building and reconstruction."

The situation in Marikana remains tense amid growing rivalry between two unions -- the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). The two unions have been fighting for control of mineworkers for years.

Since the Marikana tragedy, more than 10 miners have been murdered, with the latest killing of a NUM member on Monday. The deaths are blamed on the rivalry between the NUM and AMCU.

"The many lives lost in Marikana cannot be in vain. Those who were responsible must be prosecuted. The people who continue to terrorize the community of Marikana must be brought to book. Peace loving South Africans should commit themselves to ensuring that such a calamity never befalls our country again," Mthembu said.

The fact that violence has continued unabated in Marikana to date is a tragedy of epic proportions, pointing to deep-seated challenges in the region and its politics, said Mthembu.

"Marikana was a startling and traumatic rapture in what had always been a healthy climate of our labor relations framework; bringing harshly to the fore more questions than answers," he noted.

The ANC believes that the Farlam Commission, appointed by Zuma to investigate the tragedy, will soon conclude its work so that the country and the world can know and understand what transpired in Marikana, Mthembu said.

"We cannot however allow a situation where criminal elements undermine the rule of law under the guise of labor unrest in Marikana."

Mthembu also said the ANC "regrets the callous remarks made by our ANC structure in the North West Province regarding their intention to not participate in activities to commemorate the Marikana tragedy."

ANC North West Provincial Spokesperson Kenny Morolong said earlier that the ruling party would not attend the main commemorations led by the Association of Minerworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in Marikana.

Morolong said the commemoration is organized by an illegitimate team called Marikana Support Group, which the ANC does not recognize.

"The ANC will only participate in a commemoration organized by government, as agreed with families, Lonmin Platinum Mine and labor unions," Morolong said.

But Mthembu said Morolong's remarks "do not reflect the views of the African National Congress as a whole and are extremely unfortunate given the still very painful memory of the suffering of the victims, families and community of Marikana."

"The ANC respects the right of anyone to organize and participate in any gathering that seeks to soothe and heal the wounds that were caused by the Marikana tragedy. No one should ever seek to determine and direct how people must mourn nor contest ownership of the right to mourn," Mthembu said.

"The pain of the people of Marikana must never be turned into a popularity contest with all vying for attention and making a mockery of the real agony suffered by our people."

An urgent meeting with the North West Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC will take place soon to correct their "extremely unfortunate views" on the activities commemorating the Marikana tragedy, according to Mthembu.

"We thus restate our earlier statement that our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues who lost loved ones and whose lives were altered forever as we mourn the 44 lives lost during the unrest in Marikana last year," he said.

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