On Saturday, AMCU president, Joseph Matunjwa, arrived to a resounding welcome to Wonderkop near Marikana to a gathering was to commemorate two years after the fateful day when when forty four people were killed during a strike of miners working for the Lonmin in the North West province of South Africa. The crowd of more than ten thousand relatives, friends and former workmates of those that died in Marikana in 2012, rose and sang the praises of the union leader as he arrived at the gathering.
In August, 2012, the police that had been called in to control the strike that had lasted for more than a week opened fire on the miners and killed thirty four of them in an incident that was condemned the world over. Ten other people including two police officers and two security guards from the Lonmin company had been killed in different incidents in the week prior to the fateful day of the shooting. Many details of the events leading up to the black day of the shooting are still being unravelled by the witnesses going before the Marikana Commission which mysterious Mr X and the current deputy president of ANC and the country, Cyril Ramaposa. Joseph Mathunjwa, who spoke during the event at which the Democratic Alliance’s parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane as well as the firebrand leader of the new kids on the South African political scene, the Economic Freedom Fighter, Julius Malema also spoke, has also led another strike that started in January this year and lasted close to five months. This strike was, however, peaceful.
There have, however, been many glitches with the commemorations this year as there were last year. The members of local and central government including president Zuma have been conspicuous by their absence from both events while the opposition has taken over the events. When quizzed about their absence from this year’s event, Sam Mokaila who is the spokesman for the North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo said that the local government did not attend the event this year since they had not been invited. He added that, had they been invited, they would have attended this year’s commemorations. President Zuma who was away at the SADC Summit in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, said the commemoration was a day of reflection, a day when South Africans would commit themselves never to use violence in the resolution of conflict.