Marikana: The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), appointed by President Jacob Zuma, has pledged that the government will assist the communities affected by the Marikana tragedy by helping to identify the remaining six deceased persons and engaging the services of the CCMA to find a resolution to the dispute.
This was announced in a statement, issued by the IMC this afternoon, after it had held its first meeting at the Rustenburg Local Municipality Council Chambers.
The IMC, which is led by the Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane, includes North West Premier ThandiModise and the Ministers of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu; Police, NathiMthethwa, Social Development, BathabileDlamini; Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Richard Baloyi; Labour, Mildred Oliphant; Defence and Military Veterans, NosiviweMapisa-Nqakula; Health, Aaron Motsoaledi; State Security, SiyabongaCwele; Home Affairs, NkosazanaDlaminiZuma and Executive Mayor MphoKhunou.
Last week, 34 striking Lonmin Platinum miners were killed in clashes with police, while 78 sustained injuries. Prior to this, 10 others – including two police officers – had been killed.
The IMC said on Monday it had decided upon a number of critical interventions as part of the government’s contribution to assist the families of those who lost their loved ones, as well as those injured and recuperating in hospital.
“Noting that President Zuma had already visited those injured in hospitals, the IMC decided upon the following measures for immediate implementation: to visit the mortuary and give support to bereaved families; to meet various stakeholders – traditional leaders, trade unions, mine management, and religious leaders – and brief political parties represented in Parliament on government interventions.”
In terms of assisting the community, the IMC said government would provide death certificates through dedicated counters established in the local Rustenburg Home Affairs offices to all those affected families.
This includes the issuance of enabling documents to help in the facilitation of movement of deceased persons through various ports of entry, with particular reference to foreign nationals.
State Pathology is to work with provincial authorities in finalising post-mortem processes, and a contingency of health personnel – comprising military, municipal, provincial, and national personnel – has been mobilised to provide any emergency services required during this period and beyond.
The IMC will also co-ordinate with other provinces from which some of the deceased originate to assist those families.
Government will further engage with political parties represented in Parliament to brief them about government interventions in this regard. Government will also participate in the national debate, which is expected to be held in the National Assembly, Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
Other services that will be provided to the community include psycho-social support to members of the bereaved families and the injured through a dedicated team of social workers, who will be stationed in the area while providing alternative care for orphaned children.
Government will also ensure the payment of Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Compensation Fund benefits, where applicable to affected families.
“The Committee will maintain a ministerial presence in the area supported by senior government officials operating from the offices of the Executive Mayor of Rustenburg Local Municipality,” said the IMC, which noted that the President has declared a period of national mourning.
It said Government remained of the conviction that this was “not the time for apportioning blame, finger-pointing or exploiting this national tragedy to advance narrow and petty political agendas”.
“Neither must violence replace dialogue…” said the IMC, calling on affected communities to support the law enforcement agencies as they continued to ensure the maintenance of safety and security, protection of life and limb as well as property.
“We further call on leaders of all sectors of our society including religious, business, labour, traditional leaders, civic, women and youth to join the government in its efforts to unite the people in prayer and thoughts around this national tragedy and beyond.
“We reiterate our firm belief that only working together can we help the nation in the process of healing.”
South Africans were further encouraged to attend memorial services, which will be organised in various provinces for the victims of the tragedy, to give effect to the President’s Declaration of the National Days of Mourning as well as mark the tragedy with respect and dignity.
“The thoughts and prayers of the Government and people of South Africa reach out to all those families who lost their loved ones, expressing the hope that their burden will be lightened by the knowledge that their loss is shared by millions of people across the country,” said the IMC.
At the weekend Lonmin had given the striking workers an ultimatum to return to work on Monday or be dismissed, however, later on Monday it said that those workers who did not return to work would face disciplinary action. The company said workers should return by 7am on Tuesday.
Some members of the IMC had met with the mine management and discussed issues pertaining to the ultimatum. The parties had agreed that this was a time for mourning and that the ultimatum should be set aside.
Some of the other members visited the Phokeng mortuary where they helped deceased families with the identification of bodies and also providing moral support.
The case against the 260 Lonmin mineworkers, who were arrested during the protests, was postponed to next week in the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court.