The former general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions said a fresh inquiry into the circumstances of miners in Marikana area, where at least 44 people died in violence in 2012, is needed to prevent a repeat of the killings.
“A new commission must be established to look at living and working conditions of miners to prevent a Marikana massacre from happening again,” Zwelinzima Vavi said during a debate about the findings by a commission investigating the event in Johannesburg on Monday. Vavi, an outspoken critic of the ruling African National Congress’s economic policies and alleged corruption under President Jacob Zuma, was expelled from the labor federation in March for gross misconduct.
Zuma on June 25 released a report that recommended Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega’s competence to hold office be investigated after 34 miners were gunned down by police near Lonmin Plc’s Marikana platinum mines on Aug. 16, 2012.
The workers had been camping out on a rocky outcrop close to the operations demanding that the company increase their pay to 12,500 rand ($1,020) monthly in a country where about one of every four people is unemployed.
“Until the economic conditions in this country are addressed, there will be another Marikana,” Joseph Mathunjwa, the leader of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which has overtaken the National Union of Mineworkers to become the biggest representative of platinum-industry employees in the country, said at the same event.
At least another 10 people died in violence leading up to the massacre. The report cleared former mining minister Susan Shabangu and ex-police minister Nathi Mthethwa, who continue to serve in Zuma’s cabinet, of any wrongdoing.
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