Miners give team cold shoulder
Angry striking workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine shunned President Jacob Zuma's inter-ministerial committee yesterday, rejecting help in organising a memorial service for those killed last week.
They said Zuma's failure to address them after the killings showed he did not care about their struggle for better living conditions.
Zuma has called for an inquiry into the killing of more than 40 people, including two police officers, and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane is leading an interministerial team to assist families affected by the massacre.
But Chabane's team received a hostile reception from the North West miners.
The striking workers vented their anger at the ministers and presented them with cartridges they had retrieved from the scene of the Thursdays' shooting.
Xolani Ndzuza, the leader of a committee set up to represent the striking workers, spat on the ground before telling workers to reject an offer for the ministers to be involved in preparations for the memorial service scheduled for tomorrow.
"The memorial service that you say you want to organise for us, we don't want it.
"We don't welcome your help. The person who helped us is Julius Malema [expelled ANC Youth League president]. He is the one who told us that Cyril Ramaphosa sits on the board and spends millions buying animals. We don't want the R2-million he said will assist with the burial services."
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, speaking on behalf of the ministerial committee, had earlier defended Zuma's failure to address the crowd, saying he had visited injured workers in hospital and "it was too late" in the day for him to meet the other workers.
"We agree with you that blood was spilled. It is not what we would have wanted. As the government, we would like to assist you to organise [Thursday's] memorial service," she said.
The committee had set up a desk at Rustenburg's municipal offices to help families track down missing relatives, who were either dead or injured in hospital, she said.
The ministerial committee said 33 of the 34 bodies had been positively identified, with one being a citizen of Lesotho.
Addressing journalists at the Marikana police station earlier, Malema said the workers had opened two murder charges, the first against the NUM security guards who had allegedly shot dead several striking workers two weeks ago. The second was against the police for the slaying of 34 workers at the Marikana hill last week.
Malema said he had helped workers open cases because he did not have confidence in the commission of inquiry set up by Zuma.
"Opening a case at the police is a process that we believe in . it will not be manipulated by political processes. With a commission of inquiry, we don't know the terms of reference, the judges that are going to be appointed or the criteria ."
Malema said a group of lawyers who had volunteered to help with the case were considering applying for an interdict to secure the release of 259 workers from jail to allow them to mourn the death of colleagues.