Pretoria: The day 34 striking miners were killed in clashes with police in Marikana will always be remembered by South Africans, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“The 16th of August will always be remembered and commemorated by all South Africans as a day of pain and healing,” he said on Tuesday.
Responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces about the spiritual support offered to miners and families of the deceased, Motlanthe said that government, through the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Marikana Tragedy, had met religious and traditional leaders to ensure that they assisted the people of Marikana and the country in the process of healing.
A national day of mourning was also declared, during which religious leaders led the country in prayer, counselling and healing.
Religious leaders had conducted a spiritual cleansing ceremony at the site of the Marikana shooting, he added.
Government had also made available more than 50 social workers to provide psychological counselling to those who were injured, the families of the deceased and any other affected parties.
“The process of healing does not end with finding a solution to the labour dispute but also with the on-going support to bereaved families, the injured and miners,” Motlanthe said.
Government would continue to engage with the religious leaders to ensure that there was continued support.
“We hope that religious leaders will continue with the work of counselling both the individual families and the community of Marikana. Government through the Department of Social Development will continue with the psycho-social services for the families long after the burial of those who died,” he added.