15 August 2013
President Jacob Zuma has called on South Africans to use the anniversary of the Marikana tragedy as a time for reflection and prayer.
Friday will mark a year since the tragic incidents that claimed the lives of 44 people in Marikana, near Rustenburg in North West province.
“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,” Zuma said in a statement on Thursday.
The event, Zuma said, had shocked the whole country, causing “untold pain”.
“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.”
He called on the nation not to pre-empt the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, led by Judge Ian Farlam, which is looking into the incident.
Zuma called on the government, labour and business to work together to achieve peace and stability in the mining sector, which remains a major source of economic growth and employment in the country, especially during difficult global economic times.
The government, organised labour and organised business have committed to work together to restore peace and stability in the mines. A framework agreement signed by the parties in July provides the basis for cooperation to stabilise the sector and set it on a sustainable footing.
Cautioning against further violence, Zuma said the government would act decisively to enforce the law during protests, reiterating that labour relations disputes and negotiations should be conducted in line with the Labour Relations Act.
“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.”
The President said the newly established Mine Crime Combating Forum would ensure that the law enforcement agencies acted fairly and impartially while working together with the companies, trade unions and communities.
“Workers and managers must go to work without fear that anyone would harm them,” Zuma said. “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.”