Cosatu won't blame government for Marikana: Vavi
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Sunday said his movement would not blame the government for the Marikana shooting without knowing the full facts that led to the death of 34 miners.
“We have refused to apportion blame at this moment, to seek to score cheap political points and refused to drive sentiment against the government or anyone without knowing the full facts.”
Without naming Julius Malema, Vavi appeared to distance Cosatu from the expelled ANC Youth League president’s calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign over the August 16 bloodbath at Lonmin’s platinum mine in North West.
“We call on all those who have rushed to Marikana, to desist from their opportunism and to wait for the results of the commission of inquiry appointed by the president,” he told delegates at Cosatu’s Western Cape provincial congress.
The commission, headed by retired judge Ian Farlam, is expected to deliver its report in five months.
Vavi however launched an emotional critique of working conditions in the country’s mines, recalling his own background as a miner sacked after going on strike, and said workers must continue to fight for higher wages.
“An injury to one is an injury to all... Our call to our workers is that they should be united in battle against the mining barons who continue to exploit our labour and our country’s mineral wealth.”
He said the violence in the platinum belt had claimed lives since February and accused break-away unions and mining companies of trying to break the dominance of the National Union of Mineworkers.
“We have no doubt that there is an orchestrated political attack from the employers, from right-wing organisations ... as well as from wedge-drivers.”