Pretoria: North West Premier Thandi Modise has expressed condolences to the families of the mine workers that lost their lives during an incident at the Lonmin Mine in Marikana in Rustenburg on Thursday.
“This is the most tragic labour dispute with untold misery that South Africa has ever experienced which could have been avoided had parties involved respected the law. We appeal for calm and for sanity to prevail to avoid further casualties,” said the premier.
She said “survival of the fittest, anarchy and lawlessness should not characterise wage negotiations in the mining sector”.
“We wish to reiterate our call for cessation of hostilities and for a return to the negotiation table,” pleaded Modise.
The premier, together with the MEC for Human Settlements, Public Safety and Liaison, MEC Nono Maloyi, will be part of the government delegation visiting the area today. She said that the provincial government was supporting investigations and intervention aimed at bringing the situation to normality.
The Office of the Premier and South African Police Management have for a while been engaged in negotiations with Lonmin, National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union to broker a solution to avoid the dispute from escalating to the level to which it has deteriorated.
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has cut short his attendance of the 32nd SADC Summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in order to visit Rustenburg this afternoon.
The President asked the new SADC chairperson President Guebuza of Mozambique and his colleagues the SADC Heads of State and Government to release him so that he can go and attend to the matters at home.
“The President is concerned about the violent nature of the protest, especially given that the Constitution and labour laws allow enough avenues to deal with issues, and is sympathetic to calls for a commission of inquiry,” the Presidency said in a statement.