Presidency dismisses Lekota remarks on Zuma, troops
The presidency has dismissed concerns voiced by Congress of the People head Mosiuoa Lekota over troop deployment to Marikana.
"When Mosiuoa Lekota makes his demands in writing, then I will deal with it," said President Jacob Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj.
"I am not interested in dealing with him through the media."
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters: "The president of Cope believes he is still the minister of defence."
"We can't have that: that ambition of believing that once you were the minister of defence, you are always the minister of defence."
Lekota said Zuma had to urgently answer questions about the deployment of soldiers to Marikana.
"We, the opposition parties..., demand an urgent and unequivocal reply from the president of this country, whether he or some adventurous underling is responsible [for the deployment]..." he told reporters on Sunday.
At least a thousand soldiers were deployed in Marikana on Saturday night.
"It is not a simple thing to deploy armed forces among civilians," Lekota said.
It had the potential to threaten the country's stability.
Zuma, as the Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), also needed to say what preparatory steps the government had taken prior to the deployment.
The public had not been notified that the Marikana situation was threatening enough to justify SANDF intervention.
"We would have expected the president to tell the county if there was an imminent threat to national security," Lekota said.
He appealed to Zuma to urgently order the soldiers to return to their bases.
Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said on Saturday that the soldiers sent to Marikana included members of the air force, the army, and the military health services.
Lekota said the deployment of health personnel appeared sinister, as it implied that casualties were anticipated.
As such, he appealed to the miners and communities around Marikana not to carry traditional weapons or do anything that could act as a catalyst to the volatile situation there.
"There are people looking for an excuse to act irrationally ... [we ask you] not to provide them with an excuse."
Sunday marked a month since police opened fire on a group of protesters on a hill near Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, killing 34 mineworkers and wounding 78.
Another 10 people, among them two policemen and two security guards, died the preceding week. A 45th person, a union shopsteward, was found dead weeks after the shooting.
Workers are demanding their wages be increased to R12,500 a month.